Valerie WayneAug 20, 2020
Women’s Labour and the History of the Book in Early Modern England
Women’s Labour and the History of the Book in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury, 2020) reveals the valuable work that women achieved in publishing, printing, writing and reading early modern English books, from those who worked in the book trade to those who composed, selected, collected and annotated books. Women gathered rags for paper production, invested in books and oversaw the presses that printed them. Their writing and reading had an impact on their contemporaries and the developing literary canon. A focus on women's work enables these essays to recognize the various forms of labour -- textual and social as well as material and commercial -- that women of different social classes engaged in. Those considered include the very poor, the middling sort who were active in the book trade, and the elite women authors and readers who participated in literary communities. Taken together, these essays convey the impressive work that women accomplished and their frequent collaborations with others in the making, marking, and marketing of early modern English books.
Valerie Wayne is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in Honolulu. She was associate general editor for Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works (Oxford UP, 2007) and editor of Cymbeline for the Arden Shakespeare, third series (Bloomsbury, 2017). She has edited three collections of essays and is Past President of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender.
Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is a visiting researcher at the British Museum and teaches Digital Humanities at University College London