In early September of this year, Professor Nick Mason of BYU’s English Department collaborated with colleagues from Cambridge, the U. of Edinburgh, and the U. of Glasgow to host a three-day symposium on “Manuscripts, Print, and the Organization of Knowledge” at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, England. Bringing together leading book historians, literary critics, and historians of science from both sides of the Atlantic, the event showcased important new research on how Enlightenment- and Romantic-era writers, thinkers, and curators navigated the transition from manuscript-based systems of knowledge to the world of print. Several presenters also drew parallels between today’s “information age” and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when overwhelmed reviewers and archivists across Europe and North America struggled to process, catalogue, and organize the flood of new printed knowledge that arrived on their doorsteps each week. By holding the event in the Jerwood Centre—home to the Wordsworth Trust’s world-class collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century manuscripts, rare editions, engravings, and paintings—presenters were able to illustrate their remarks with specific manuscripts (e.g., letters, diaries, annotations) and printed materials pulled from the Trust’s archives.
More information about the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere