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Annual Lecture in the History of the Book: Christopher Hager

Christopher Hager is Associate Professor of English at Trinity College, and author of Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing (Harvard, 2013). “The emancipation of American slaves was not only a social and political revolution but also a singular moment in the history of written expression,” said Hager. “Untold thousands of African Americans who had been deprived of literacy gained unprecedented access to education at the same time they achieved their freedom.” If we wonder what will become of the printed book in the digital age, we should consider the fate of manuscript culture during the age of print. How can unpublished 19th-century texts—especially those by marginally literate writers—reorient literary studies for the 21st century?

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