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Wordsmith finds meaning in dictionaries

A world authority on reading will seek to enhance our understanding of how we use words, at a University public lecture.

Alberto Manguel will deliver the University’s Centre for the History of the Book’s annual talk at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 5 October.

During his lecture, the esteemed writer, translator and editor will discuss several of the dictionaries that have been important to him throughout his life, and explore how they shaped and guided his reading.

Enlightening talk

During his lecture, Mr Manguel will reflect on Genesis in the Bible’s Old Testament, in which Adam’s first task was to compile a sort of dictionary.

Mr Manguel will explore ideas around the extent to which dictionaries allow us to say what we mean, and how there’s no end to the reading of dictionaries, as they continually refer you from one definition to another.

Esteemed thinker

Mr Manguel has written a number of revered non-fiction books, including The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (1980), A History of Reading (1996) and The Library At Night (2007).

The Argentine Canadian is the recipient of a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Guggenheim fellowship, which recognises exceptional creativity in the arts. 

His writing appears regularly in The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian and Washington Post. In December 2015 he was named director of the National Library in his native Argentina.

A tireless reader and owner of more than 30,000 books, Mr Manguel believes in the central importance of the book in society, and thinks libraries, rather than banks, should be at the heart of our culture.  

Leading centre

The Centre for the History of the Book was founded in 1995 as an international and interdisciplinary organisation.

It conducts research into all aspects of the material culture of the text - its production, circulation, and reception.

One of the first research centres to be established in the field, it is now recognised internationally as a leading centre for the study of book history and related topics.

Related Links

Centre for the History of the Book

MSc in Book History and Material Culture

The University's School of Literature, Languages and Cultures