The George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Book Prize 2019

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) is delighted to announce the award of the 2019 DeLong Book History Book Prize to Brent Nongbri, Professor, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Norway and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia for his title God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts(Yale University Press)

In announcing the Prize at SHARP’s annual conference in Amherst, USA, Claire Squires, SHARP’s Director of Publications and Awards commented:

This path-breaking contribution to the field of book history urges us to reconsider beliefs and concepts that have been fundamental in the formation of religious and cultural history while captivating the reader with its exciting, Indiana Jones-esque research story. Nongbri gives a fascinating, nuanced, and revisionist interpretation of a rich array of ancient manuscripts. In so doing he throws light on the origins of the Christian codex, and warns of the dangers of reading into the past an anachronistic view of the Biblical canon. Exerting his expertise in palaeography and codicology, including attention to stitching and binding techniques, Nongbri highlights the lack of certainty about the provenance, authorship, date, and place of origin of many influential papyrus and parchment manuscripts. The judges praise Nongbri’s amalgam of thorough knowledge about techniques and materiality, his exhaustive archival research, and the analytical sharpness that he brings to bear on this important history. This is a story that involves untrustworthy antiquities dealers, private collectors spreading false information to put their rivals off the scent of discoveries, cave raiders, and the accidental discovery of papyri. God’s Library is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of beliefs, which is, of course, also a history of books.

Brent Nongbri receives $1,000 as winner of the SHARP DeLong Book History Book Prize.

Commendations were also made to David McKitterick (University of Cambridge) for The Invention of Rare Books: Private Interest and Public Memory, 1600–1840 (Cambridge University Press) and Adam Smyth (University of Oxford) for Material Texts in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press).

SHARP Lightning Seed grants for ECRs

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the new SHARP Lightning Seed grants for early career researchers. These grants are intended as quick micro grants that hopefully will produce long-term benefits.

SHARP is aware that one of the issues facing ECRs is to document the ability to obtain external funding.  Sometimes even small amounts will suffice, as both documentation of the ECR’s commitment and that the research addressed has the endorsement of a major global scholarly society. To this end, we have decided to make available a number of micro grants, in the region of 100-150 USD, for local book history activities organized by early career researchers. These grants are open to anyone, anywhere, who is a SHARP member at the time of application. Each application must state what the award will be used for, what the intended activity is, and who will benefit.  Submissions will be evaluated and, if deemed suitable, awarded until such time as the current Lightning Seed budget is exhausted.

Applications will be favoured that meet some or all of the following aims:

  • Aid research into or the dissemination of research about book history in its broadest sense
  • Have impact on the widest cross section of scholars or largest research audience possible, both at the time(s) of the event and subsequently within the wider community
  • Indicate subsequent activities that may be generated by the seed grant
  • engage with public humanities

If you are considering an activity that meets some or all of the criteria above, and believe that a Lightning Seed grant may help with an identified purpose, then please submit your application to

Simon Frost

SHARP Director of Transnational Affairs

drsrfrost@gmail.com

Congratulations to SHARP Member Natasha Roule

A PhD candidate in historical musicology at Harvard University, Ms. Natasha Roule has just been awarded a 2017-2018 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships for “Reviving Lully: Opera and the Negotiation of Absolutism in the French Provinces, 1685-1750.”

Her project explores the history of the first French operas—the tragédies lyriques of Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)—in the French provinces between 1685 and 1750. Scholars typically focus on productions of Lully’s operas in Paris or at court, where the operas premiered. Provincial productions of Lully’s operas, however, offer a crucial perspective on a period of unprecedented expansion of royal authority over France and the ascendance of Paris as the French cultural capital. This project argues that provincial productions of Lully’s operas voiced tension and compromise between regional identity and royal absolutist ideology. An analysis of scores, libretti, and contemporary criticism of the productions reveals a thriving practice among artists of affirming or subverting the operas’ frequent allusions to Louis XIV through musical and textual adaptations or satire. An epilogue studies modern revivals of Lully’s operas to reflect further on the repertoire’s adaptability to the identities and ideologies of performers.

Natasha was already the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the American Graduate Fellowship from the Council of Independent Colleges, the Anne Louise Barrett Fellowship from Wellesley College, and a Pforzheimer Fellowship at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, for which she contributed extensively to the music database RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales).  Complementing her work as a musicologist, Natasha is the Co-Artistic Director of Les Enfants d’Orphée, a professional chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of French baroque music.  Her research on 17th-century French music manuscripts can be found on the Houghton Library Blog (July 2015), and she is currently completing an article on 18th-century Burgundian parodies of airs from Lully’s operas.