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  • Monday, April 1, 2019 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

We will be welcoming Sharon Achinstein for a talk entitled: “John Milton in the Printing House (1644).” Sharon writes:

John Milton wrote on divorce in 1644, under the new conditions of circulation after the breakdown of ecclesiastical censorship.  In the production of his divorce writing, Milton seems to have taken particular care in addressing printers’ errors, through pen-and-ink corrections most likely made in the printing house, so consistent are the hands used in these corrections; indeed, one of these hands may be Milton's own. This is all the more striking because it was usually the case that early modern authors exerted only limited control over the text as it passed through the print shop:  before the Copyright Act of 1709 an author who sold a work to printers had no further control over it.  Aspects of Milton's involvement with this unlicensed and poorly produced early work, including an unusual cancel, will be presented.  Larger implications for understanding what counts as an edition, authorial handprints, censorship and self-censorship, and the underground network of publishers during the civil war pamphlet explosion will be discussed.

Sharon Achinstein is Sir William Osler Professor in the Department of English at The Johns Hopkins University, and was previously Professor of Renaissance English Literature at Oxford University.  Author of Milton and the Revolutionary Reader and Literature and Dissent in Milton's England, she has edited Literature, Gender and the English Revolution and co-edited Milton and Toleration.  Currently editing Milton's divorce writings for The Complete Works of John Milton (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), in her most recent research Professor Achinstein faces the history of marriage towards literature, law, politics, global realities and theology, and engages in debates over secularism, gender, sexuality and human rights in early modernity.

All are welcome! Those who do not hold University of Pennsylvania ID cards should bring another form of photo identification in order to enter the library building.