Oct 8, 2023
Andrew Nash is Reader in Book History at the Institute of English Studies, University of London (a leading book history scholar in other words) and Director of the London Rare Books School.
We sat down in the stacks at the Mark Longman "Books about Books" Library at the University of Reading (well, actually the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading which is somehow connected to the University and its publishers' archives collections) to talk about a course Andrew teaches at the London Rare Book School on how to use/work with publishers' archives.
Though this topic may sound a tad niche, even for this podcast, it's not. Andrew makes the convincing case that publishers' archives are in fact of interest to many scholars, and have value precisely because they can be studied from many different economic, social, and cultural perspectives. Publishers' archives yield, among other things, fascinating, detailed information about how knowledge and "culture" is “made public” in society. They’re not just about author-publisher correspondences, though these in themselves are justly recognized and valued as essential documents of cultural heritage, no, they’re about providing scholars, and the world at large, with rich source documentation, from which all of us can better understand...yes, everything!
Archives referenced during our conversation include those of Allen & Unwin, Chatto and Windus, Longmans, John Murray, George Routledge, and The Hogarth Press.