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Virtual Event: Cameo Conversation: Publishing before Publishing: The Case of the Ancient Library
with Stephanie Frampton
What does it mean to publish without publishers? In the ancient world, before the development of systematic, hierarchical, and corporate methods for controlling literary distribution, the dissemination of books relied on manuscript circulation and oral performance within small, élite reading communities. But over the course of the first centuries BCE and CE, private and public libraries played an increasingly important role in ensuring the circulation, preservation, and reproduction of texts of all kinds, from medical treatises to the greatest works of literature. In this presentation Frampton will discuss the ancient book trade, focusing on the evidence for the use of libraries as cultural repositories and publication venues from Alexandria to Rome.
Stephanie Ann Frampton is Associate Professor of Literature and Co-Chair of the Program in Ancient and Medieval Studies at MIT. In 2019–20, she is a Frances Yates Visiting Fellow at the Warburg Institute, London. Trained as a Latinist and a comparatist, Prof. Frampton works principally on the history of the book in antiquity, studying the intersections of literary and material culture in the Graeco-Roman world and traditions of reading, writing, and scholarship in the longue durée. She has published on a range of topics in this area, from graffiti in the city of Herculaneum to on the development of the concept of studium into the Renaissance, and on Roman authors from Cicero to Ovid. Her research has been supported by awards from the American Academy in Rome, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. In 2017–2018, she was the inaugural president of the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School, University of Virginia. Her first book, Empire of Letters: Writing in Roman Literature and Thought from Lucretius to Ovid, appeared with Oxford University Press in 2019.