Book Practices & Textual Itineraries

Director: Nathalie Collé, MCF HC 

Description: This project aims at tracing evolutions in the production, transmission and reception of books, texts and images over time and across cultural and disciplinary boundaries. It also seeks to examine the new practices which are developing in response to the acceleration of textual production and exchange provoked by electronic media. The project’s combined attention to book history, textual scholarship and illustration studies means that it is positioned to make a unique contribution in these fields, since other research bodies have tended to study book history, textual scholarship and illustrations separately (eg. SHARP and the London Rare Books School with their focus on Book History; the European Society for Textual Scholarship and the Center for Textual Studies at De Montfort University with their focus on Textual scholarship; and Illustration Research with their focus on Illustration).

IDEA has already gained a considerable reputation for its work in these areas, through the various international conferences it has organised and the several books it has published on the subjects over the past years, as well as through the editorial advisory board that has been assembled for the Book Practices & Textual Itineraries book series. The wide network of scholars and practitioners with which the project leaders have come into contact through these activities will be of great help as our work continues over the coming years.


Goals & Output: The most basic goal of this project is to establish IDEA as one of the research-centres of reference in Europe for subjects that require dialogue between book historians, textual scholars and illustrators. Beyond this, the project leaders seek to facilitate international dialogue on these subjects, between scholars, practitioners and professionals from France, Europe and the English-speaking world.

As the project progresses, the project leaders will continue annual publications of volumes in the Book Practices & Textual Itineraries series. BPTI seeks to secure partnerships with other universities, so as to increase the visibility of the publication and to share the editorial tasks it involves (dialogue on this subject is currently ongoing with 1) nationally, the universities of Bourgogne, Haute-Alsace, and Valenciennes, and also Paris 3, Caen Normandie, Littoral Côte d’Opale, and 2) internationally various institutions in the UK, Canada and the USA.

The project leaders will continue to organise international conferences designed to promote dialogue between textual scholars, book historians and illustration specialists and practitioners on a regular basis. They will also continue to organise seminars and ‘journées d’étude’ in Nancy and elsewhere — Mulhouse, Dijon and Valenciennes in particular, but also in the UK.


Potential partners & Funding possibilities: Since the project is designed rather to promote dialogue within a field of study than to achieve specific goals on a single subject of research, it is unlikely that funding from the ANR or European Research Council could be obtained. The project leaders will continue to explore avenues to open collaborations with other UdL research teams as their work advances. But the most promising possibilities involve partnerships with other English research centres in France and abroad.