The first meeting of the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies 2019-2020 series will take place on Friday, September 6, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Rosenwald Room (LJ 205), 2nd floor, Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress

Professor Betty A. Schellenberg will deliver a talk entitled “Reader Creations: Alteration, Arrangement, and Intention in the Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Poetry Miscellany.”


Whether or not eighteenth-century creators of personal poetry miscellanies accepted Pope’s claim that “True self-love and social are the same,” they had decisions to make about how to combine the “public” poetry they selected for copying from magazines and printed miscellanies with the poetry created within their own social circles, even their own compositions. While scholars of early modern poetry compilations have wrestled inconclusively with the question of how much can be read into their arrangement of contents, analyses of eighteenth-century manuscript miscellanies are virtually non-existent. I argue that these miscellanies represent circumstances different from those of their predecessors, because the poetry they copy tends to be drawn from new and widely available print forms. Faced with a greater choice of materials, these compilers become curators and creators in their own right, revealing a consciousness of object-making not only in the decorative flourishes they use to embellish and unify their work, but also in the alteration and arrangement they enact on the poems they memorialize in their books. After a general overview of this overlooked genre, my talk will explore creative strategies whereby the individual compiler negotiated her or his own position in relation to local networks as well as a fast-developing literary culture and global British identity.


Betty A. Schellenberg is a Professor of English at Simon Fraser University. Her interests in authorship, the print trade, and scribal cultures inform her most recent monograph, Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture (2016). Other publications include Samuel Richardson in Context, co-edited with Peter Sabor (Cambridge, 2017), The Professionalization of Women Writers in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, 2005), and Reconsidering the Bluestockings, co-edited with Nicole Pohl (Huntington Library, 2003). She is currently researching the eighteenth-century manuscript verse miscellany.

Please join us for  Professor Schellenberg’s talk and for dinner afterwards.

The Jefferson Building is located between First and Second Streets, SE in the District of Columbia. Nearest metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

For further information, consult the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies website at, or contact Sabrina Baron and Eleanor Shevlin at

For their encouragement and support, the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies would like to thank Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections at the Library of Congress and other Library of Congress staff including Michael North, Head, Reference and Reader Services, Rare Book and Special Collections; Stephanie Stillo, Lessing J. Rosenwald Curator; Eric Frazier, Reference Librarian Rare Book and Special Collections. We are also indebted to John Y. Cole,  Library of Congress Historian and founder of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

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