If you are or will be in the Philadelphia area this weekend, I’ll be speaking at the Free Library of Springfield Township in Wyndmoor, PA (Montgomery County) on Saturday, June 23. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. The talk is titled “From Handmade to Digital: Jane Austen’s Publication History” and, as you might have guessed, is about the history of the publication of Jane Austen’s novels from her lifetime to the present.
During Jane Austen’s lifetime, the publication of her books was a completely manual operation: the manuscript was handwritten, the type was set by hand, inked by hand, and printed on handmade paper, and then bound by hand. Two centuries later, we can carry Jane Austen’s novels everywhere we go on our smartphones. Margaret C. Sullivan will explain the evolution of publication between the 19th and 21st centuries, illustrated with examples of editions of Austen’s novels and images of the publishing process in Jane Austen’s time.
I’ve illustrated the presentation with lots of images of the covers of Austen novels over the years from Jane Austen Cover to Cover (yes, including some of the funny ones). I’ll talk about the process of publication in Jane Austen’s time, including both how writers got published, how they were paid, and how the books were made.
You don’t really have to know a lot about her novels to enjoy this talk, I think. If you like books and history, you’ll enjoy the program.
This event is sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America, Eastern Pennsylvania Region. You don’t have to be a JASNA member to attend, however; this event is free and open to the public. We will have some snacks (including my semi-famous homemade hummus) and there will also be a Book Swap table for Jane Austen-related books; bring along any books you would like to rehome, and see if anyone else has left something interesting and new-to-you!
The Free Library of Springfield Township is my home library and brand spanking new–a completely new building and it’s just beautiful! I’m so grateful to the library for letting us have our program there, and I’m excited about it, too. I hope to see my fellow Janeites there on Saturday.