The Promise of Paradise: Reading, Researching, and Using the Private Library
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
- Jorge Luis Borges
In recent years, the idea of the library has become increasingly important to scholars of and experts on architecture, creative writing, digital humanities, history, and numerous other fields. Our conference asks contributors to join our keynote speakers—celebrated author of The Library at Night (2007), Alberto Manguel, and expert on Marlon Brando’s library, Susan Mizruchi—to talk about how researchers, writers, and the general public can use the library as a tool for engaging with various fields of scholarship. Of particular interest to this conference are papers on personal libraries and libraries from the perspective of users.
Private libraries have many of the qualities of an archive: they are testaments to and records of an era in terms of culture, philosophical thought, historical knowledge, architectural design, and so forth. In the case of personal libraries, collections can paint the broadest picture of what and (sometimes) when ideas were being read, internalized, and absorbed into an owner’s life and work. Our conference invites contributors to offer methodological frameworks for considering general or specific libraries (public or private) with these benefits of the library in mind.
In considering these issues, our conference encourages papers that include, but are not limited to, some of the following issues:
• The Author’s Library and Personal Collection
• The Meanings of Marginalia
• Charting and Understanding Genealogy through the Library
• Creative Uses for Libraries
• Special Needs for Specialized Libraries
• Designing the Library: Architecture and the Use of Space
• Using and Preserving Libraries in Crisis: War, Liquidation, Dismemberment
• New Tools for the Library in the Digital Age
• Uncovering Hidden Libraries
• Oral Libraries: Storytelling and the Intangible Library
It is the intention of the organizers (Dr. Jason Camlot and Dr. J.A. Weingarten) to publish a selection of these conference papers in a scholarly edition, which will be submitted to McGill-Queen’s University Press within six months of the conference. The goal of this groundbreaking publication will be to reach a wide audience of readers interested in the library and to demonstrate to those readers the place of libraries in the future of the humanities.
Please send abstracts of 300-500 words (along with your name, institution, email, and tentative paper title) by 15 January 2016 to J.A. Weingarten at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference will be held at Concordia University on June 17-19, 2016.