This exhibition was mounted in conjunction with a one-day graduate seminar, ‘British Romanticism and the Survival of Manuscript Culture’, led by Professor Michelle Levy (Simon Fraser University) and sponsored by the Interacting with Print research group. The exhibition was mounted in the Lande Reading Room of the Rare Books and Special Collections department at McGill University; it ran through the month of April 2009. The exhibition brought together print and manuscript items from the holdings of the MacLennan Library, McGill Rare Books, and the private collection of Professor Jason Camlot (Concordia University).
The exhibition is divided into four sections: Circulating in Manuscript, Writing in Books, Sharing Books, and Script and Print. Each section provides a glimpse of one aspect of how manuscript culture survived and developed throughout the nineteenth century. Although purely manuscript and purely print works and worlds existed, this exhibition is concerned with how the two forms engaged with and were influenced by each other. Poets circulated works in manuscript before having them printed and readers remixed print culture by creating scrapbooks that were part print and part script. Handwritten commonplace books imitated the layout of printed pages and printed texts included facsimiles of handwriting or typefaces that imitated manuscript. Readers marked the margins of their books, and gift books included presentation pages, which encouraged readers to write in the book.