Bibliographical Survey of English Novels, 1770-1830

Two awards from the Leverhulme Trust supported research for a major two-volume publication by Oxford University Press, set to revolutionise our understanding of the production of English fiction in the Romantic period. The two volumes, The English Novel, 1770-1799 and The English Novel, 1820-1829 were published by Oxford University Press in March 2000.

The general editors are Prof James Raven (Director CPBT), Prof Peter Garside (University of Wales) and Prof Rainer Schowerling (University of Paderborn, Germany). The CPBT Leverhulme Research Associate is Prof Antonia Forster (University of Akron, Ohio) who is also an editor of volume one.

Details of the authorship, bookselling, and reviewing of all prose fiction of the period, surviving and lost, is reconstructed, together with location references to all remaining copies. Sources include contemporary newspapers, periodical reviews and booksellers’ records. Exhaustive use is made of library catalogues throughout the world, and a copy of each surviving novel has been consulted.

A celebratory launch for the two volumes was held at Dartmouth House, Berkeley Square, London, when the editors were present.
A constituent resource is the remarkable collection of belles lettres at Schloss Corvey, Germany.

Translation into English of neglected European studies of book history

The first translation will be Otto Walde’s Storhetstidens Litterära Krigsbyten (Uppsala and Stockholm, 1916). This classic Swedish history of literary war booty and the dispersal of library collections during the Thirty Years War, has been available only in Swedish. Walde’s account remains a key guide to our understanding of the movements of book collections from the early seventeenth century. Walde identifies books removed from private and institutional libraries, monasteries and castles in Poland, northern Germany, Denmark, Moravia and Bohemia, and retraces their history to explain their present locations. A translated and fully revised edition in English is being prepared by Elsa Meyland-Smith.

Mapping the Print Culture of Eighteenth-Century London

This project provides for the first time the exact location of printers, booksellers, stationers and binders in London, 1690-1820. The history of the transformation of Paternoster Row and St Paul’s Churchyard as one of the great sites for the book trades in eighteenth-century Europe, can now be recovered by use of land tax records in conjunction with a variety of new sources. These provide not only details of shop size, rentals, and turnover of personnel, but chart the whole character of the commercial neighbourhood. The project, supported by Oxford University (Faculty of Modern History), was awarded an Institutional Research Fellowship by the Humanities Research Board and the British Academy. Using the latest computer techniques, a book trades database was constructed by Dr Nigel Hall. See Bookscape and the history of the book trades in London for more information.

The database provided the basis for James Raven’s 2010 Panizzi Lectures at the British Library, lectures to be published by the British Library as London Book Sites: Places of Printing and Publishing before 1800.

A Map of 1756 depicting the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral and Paternoster Row – A key centre of eighteenth-century book production.