Centre for the History of the Book

Reading beyond Reading

Close, distant, scaleable, surface, hyper, machine-assisted. On paper, on screens, or not at all. Questions about how people read – how they read in the past, how they read in the present and how they might read in the future – fundamentally concern all humanistic disciplines.

At a moment when what counts as ‘reading’ is controversial once again, the ‘Reading beyond Reading’ colloquium puts reading back into question.  We ask how and why some kinds of reading – close and attentive, critical and suspicious – came to assume normative force in the academy, and we historicise them in relation to other kinds of reading – indeed, other kinds of literacy – available in the past.  We turn our attention to varieties of reading touted as ‘new’ (distant, algorithmic, surface, hyper), and ask how these relate to other kinds of reading.  For all readers, and writers who hope to find readers, these questions take on new urgency in our current moment of media change.


Booking for the symposium is now available through Eventbrite:



Programme of events for the symposium.

Speakers and Abstracts

A full list of the speakers at the symposium and abstracts for the papers being presented.


Find out more about the team of academics who organised the symposium.