Portable Magic: A History of Books

March 6, 2023


Talk by author Emma Smith on Monday 6 March 2023, Queen Square, Bath.

How and why did books get such a hold on us? How has this technology shaped us over the last two millennia? This talk discusses continuities and change across the long history of books and their readers, emphasising that it is books’ physical form – their ‘bookhood’ – that lends them their distinctive and sometimes dangerous magic. From Marilyn Monroe to ancient bibles, from the history of paperbacking to a new look at Gutenberg, from a book made of wrapped slices of cheese to the Jedi scriptures: if you like books, you’ll definitely find something of interest!

Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Oxford

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