The Book Index
Bodleian Library, Oxford
22-23 June, 2017
Keynotes: Professor Ann Blair (Harvard); Professor Emily Steiner (UPenn)
‘I for my part venerate the inventor of Indexes, […] that unknown labourer in literature who first laid open the nerves and arteries of a book.’
–Isaac Disraeli, Literary Miscellanies
Now that much of our reading activity begins with the Results page of a Google search, this two-day symposium will take a timely opportunity to consider how the index – the foremost finding aid of the physical book – shaped reading and scholarly method over the last eight hundred years. An academic enabler, allowing readers to synthesise texts on a scale that had previously been impossible? A prop for fakers and the lazy – see Pope’s ‘index-learning turns no student pale’? What has the index offered readers, and what can indexes – both published and reader-created – tell us about the ways that a book has been consumed?
Subjects might include, but are not limited to:
- the emergence of the index and its refinement over time
- indexes and genre
- ‘indexical reading’ and ‘index scholarship’
- reader indexes: handwritten indexes to printed books
- the index and ‘extract reading’: commonplacing, anthologising
- the indexer, their place in the publishing foodchain
- the grammar of the index
- the emergence of indexing societies and agencies
- indexing and the novel
- indexing technology – from slips to punchcards to hyperlinks
- the index and the eBook
Please send proposals (250 words) for papers of twenty minutes, along with a short biographical note to Dr Dennis Duncan (email@example.com) by 30 November, 2016.
See http://indexconference.wordpress.com for more information as it is available.