Université de Strasbourg

The history of ephemera

A Cultural History of British and French Ephemera in the Long Eighteenth Century

USIAS Fellow: Sandro Jung

The fellowship project, to be carried out under the auspices of USIAS and using the extensive resources of the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire, aims to produce a cultural history of British and French literary ephemera during the long eighteenth century.

Divided into four distinct, but interrelated work packages on (i) subscription-related paper-based ephemera (including publishing prospectuses, subscription proposals, and projected illustrations), (ii) chapbooks (of widely distributed cultural classics such as fairy tales and redacted versions of novels such as Robinson Crusoe), (iii) theatrical ephemera (including illustrated tickets, theatre scene design, and costume prints), and (iv) cheap print media (such as ballads, songbooks, funeral elegies, and broadsides), it aims to construct an innovative and revisionist literary-historical account of cultural production in Britain and France from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries.

The project will recover a large corpus of ephemera from a hitherto largely “invisible” (Margaret Ezell’s term) print-cultural archive and provide an explanatory print-historical narrative of literary production that relativizes literary-historiographical preoccupations with monolithic canons. I shall embed this diachronic project within current developments of textual studies that argue for a more inclusive understanding of text as a non-static manifestation of cultural endeavour.


France 2030