The Lyell Lectures

Writing models  from manuscript to print: France, England and Europe, c. 1400-1800 
Professor Marc Smith (École Nationale des Chartes)
Lyell Reader in Bibliography, 2019–20 
First four lectures 29 September, 1, 6 and 8 October 2020 at 5:00 pm BST : online
To register for the first four lectures in this series, go to:
NOTE: registrations after Monday, 28 September will require at least 24 hours to be activated. With any questions e-mail 
These four lectures will be available for all to view, from the day following each lecture date, as video podcasts at (search: Lyell)

The final lecture will be delivered in March 2021, date and arrangements to be announced closer to that time.

A series of five lectures

Tuesday 29 September 2020, Lecture 1: Writing Models and the Formation of National Script

Thursday 1 October 2020, Lecture 2: Bibliography and the Life Cycles of Writing Books

Tuesday 6 October 2020, Lecture 3: Renaissance Calligraphy from Pen to Press and Back

Thursday 8 October 2020, Lecture 4: The Golden Age of French Writing Masters?

Lecture 5: “L’Ecriture Anglaise dans sa Perfection”: To be delivered in March 2021. Full details and registration information will follow closer to the time.

The Lyell Lectures

The Lyell readership in bibliography at Oxford University is endowed by a bequest from James Patrick Ronaldson Lyell (1871-1948), a solicitor, book collector and bibliographer. Each year since 1952, a distinguished scholar has been elected to deliver the lectures, usually six in number, on any topic of bibliography, broadly conceived.

J.P.R. Lyell lived in Oxford and (on his retirement) in Abingdon from 1927 until the end of his life. Even as a young man he was interested in collecting early printed books, and he made a study of early book illustration in Spain. In the 1930s he began collecting medieval manuscripts, eventually accumulating some 250 of these, of which one hundred were bequeathed to the Bodleian Library. A further series of some 65 manuscripts, mostly post-medieval, were bought by the Library from his executors. The first Lyell lectures, for the academic year 1952-3, were delivered by Neil R. Ker, university reader in palaeography and fellow of Magdalen College.


DateReaderTitle of Lectures
 2018-19 Richard Sharpe
 Libraries and books in medieval England: the role of libraries in a changing book economy 
 2017-18 David Pearson
 Book Ownership in Stuart England 
 2016-17 Paul Nelles
 The Vatican Library and the Counter-Reformation 


Teresa Webber
Public Reading and its Books: Monastic Ideals and Practice in England c. 1000-c. 1300 
2014-15Michael Suarez, SJ The reach of bibliography Podcasts
2013-14H.R. Woudhuysen  'Almost Identical': Copying Books in England, 1600-1900 

Richard Beadle

Late medieval English autograph writings and their uses
2011-12Lukas ErneShakespeare and the book tradeCambridge University Press, 2013
2010-11David ParkerDescribing the New TestamentOxford University Press, 2012


Date Reader Title of Lectures Publication
2009-10 Ian Maclean The business of scholarship: the trade in Latin books in the age of confessions, 1560-1630 Scholarship, Commerce, Religion. Harvard University Press, 2012
2008-09 Christopher F R de Hamel Fragments in Book Bindings
2007-08 Kristian Jensen Collecting Incunabula: Enlightenment, revolution and the market - rediscovering and re-creating the earliest printed books in the eighteenth century Cambridge University Press
2006-07 Mirella Ferrari The scriptorium and library of Bobbio
2005-06 Leslie Howsam Historical knowledge and British publishers, 1850-1950: discipline and narrative BL /Toronto UP, 2009
2004-05 Reinhard Wittmann Literary life and book-market in Germany under the Swastika 1933-1945
2003-04 Kathleen L Scott Suppleatur per ymaginacionem : Exceptional images in later medieval English manuscripts London, 2007
2002-03 Nigel G Wilson The world of books in Byzantium
2001-02 Bruce Bryning Redford Designing the Life of Johnson OUP, 2002
2000-01 Rodney Malcolm Thomson Books and learning in twelfth-century England: the ending of 'Alter Orbis' Red Gull Press, 2006

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Date Reader Title of Lecture Publication
1999-2000 David McKitterick Set in print: The fortunes of an idea, c.1450-1800 Cambridge University Press, 2003
1998-99 Malcolm B Parkes Their hands before our eyes: A closer look at scribes Ashgate, 2008
1996-97 Robert Darnton Policing literature in eighteenth-century Paris
1995-96 Peter Beal In praise of scribes: Manuscripts and their makers in seventeenth-century England OUP, 1998
1994-95 Henri-Jean Martin (1924-2007) Du manuscrit au livre imprimé: mise en page et mise en texte des textes littéraires Français de la fin due XVe siècle au milieu du XVIIe siècle Electre, 2000
1993-94 Joseph Burney Trapp (1925-2005) Illustrations of Petrarch from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century Quaderni petrarcheschi, 1996
1992-93 Bernhard Fabian English authors and German publishers in the eighteenth century
1991-92 R H Rouse Book-producers and book-production in Paris: family, shop and neighbourhood on the Rue neuve Notre-Dame, 1200-1500 Harvey Miller, 1998 / 2000
1990-91 A R A Hobson Two renaissance book-collectors: Jean Grolier and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, their libraries and bookbindings Cambridge University Press, 1998

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Date Reader Title of Lecture Publication
1989-90 Elizabeth L Eisenstein Grub Street abroad: Aspects of the French Cosmopolitan Press from the age of Louis XIV to the French Revolution OUP, 1992
1988-89 Donald H Reiman The Study of Modern Manuscripts: Public, Confidential, and Private Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992
1987-88 D F McKenzie (1931-1999) Bibliography and history: seventeenth-century England
1986-87 Mary Pollard (1922-2005) Dublin Trade in Books 1550 to 1800 OUP, 1989
1985-86 Edwin Wolf (1911-1991) Books, bookmen, and booksellers in colonial Philadelphia OUP, 1988
1984-85 Gordon Norton Ray (1915-1986) The Art Deco book in France Univerity of Virginia Bibliographical Society, 2005
1983-84 Robert Shackleton (1919-1986) The bibliographical history of Montesquieu
1982-83 Jonathan J G Alexander Creation and transmission: methods of work of manuscript illuminators in the Middle Ages Yale, 1993
1981-82 Berthold Wolpe (1905-1989) The quest for Beauchesne: contributions to the history of Elizabethan calligraphy and print-making
1980-81 Ian Gilbert Philip The Bodleian Library in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries OUP, 1983

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Date Reader Title of Lecture Publication
1979-80 Monsignor José Ruysschaert Recherches vaticanes sur la miniature italienne du quinzième siecle  
1978-79 Howard Millar Nixon (1909-1983) English decorated bookbindings
1977-78 Mme Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer La famille Fournier et la fonderie typographique en France au XVIIIe siècle
1976-77 T Julian Brown (1923-1987) The insular system of scripts, c.600-c.850
1975-76 David F Foxon (1923-2001) Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade OUP, 1991
1974-75 T A M Bishop (1907-1994) The script of Corbie 1977
1973-74 Alan W Tyson (1926-2000) Beethoven: Studies in the genesis of his music 1803-9
1972-73 André Masson (1900-1986) Le catalogue figuratif: a pictorial guide to the contents of European libraries from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century OUP, 1981
1971-72 Wytze Hellinga (1908-1985) The bibliography of early printing in the Low Countries between 1767 and 1874
1970-71 Otto Ernst Pächt (1902-1988) The art of drawing within the realm of medieval illumination

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Date Reader Title of Lecture Publication
1969-70 William Burton Todd Scholarly texts: variable techniques and designs
1968-69 Cornelis Reedijk (1921-2000) The labours of Hercules: some observations on the history of Erasmus's Opera omnia Basel, 1980
1967-68 Harry Graham Carter (1901-1982) A View of Early Typography up to about 1600 OUP, 1969
1966-67 Anthony Ian Doyle Some English scribes and scriptoria of the later middle ages Published as articles
1965-66 Simon Harcourt Nowell-Smith (1909-1996) International Copyright Law and the Publisher in the reign of Queen Victoria OUP, 1968
1964-65 William Beattie (1903-1986) Some aspects of the history of the Advocates' Library
1963-64 Jacques Guignard L'Art de le reliure en France et l'action des bibliophiles: quelques aspects de la question
1962-63 A N L Munby (1913-1974) Three nineteenth-century collectors of manuscripts OUP, 1972
1961-62 Philip Hofer (1898-1984) The artist and the book in France
1960-61 Henry Graham Pollard (1903-1976) The medieval book trade in Oxford  

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Date Reader Title of Lecture Publication
1958-59 Fredson T Bowers (1905-1991) Bibliography and Textual Criticism OUP, 1964
1956-57 Stanley Arthur Morison (1889-1967) Aspects of Authority and Freedom in relation to Greco-Latin Script, Inscription, and Type Privately printed as pamphlets, 1957
1954-55 Walter Wilson Greg (1875-1959) Some Aspects and Problems of London Publishing between 1550 and 1650 OUP, 1956
1952-53 Neil Ripley Ker (1908-1982) English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960).  Ker's first lecture, 'The manuscripts of James P. R. Lyell, delivered at the Ashmolean Museum, 29 Jan 1953, in accordance with the terms of Lyell's will, as the first Lyell Lecture by the first James P. R. Lyell Reader in Bibliography, was printed in Catalogue of the Collection of Medieval Manuscripts bequeathed to the Bodleian Library Oxford by James P. R. Lyell, by Albinia de la Mare (Oxford, 1971), xv-xxi. The more complete typescript is now Bodl. MS Eng. c. 2013. OUP, 1960

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The McKenzie Lectures

The lectures were inaugurated in 1996, in honour of Professor Donald Francis McKenzie (1931-1999), Professor of Bibliography & Textual Criticism at the University of Oxford, 1989-1996.


2016 Gisèle Sapiro, (Professor of Sociology at the EHESS in Paris and Research Director at the CNRS)‘Authorship in transnational perspective’

2015 Professor Sheldon Pollock (Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies , Columbia University), ‘Editing in India: The First 1500 years’
2014 Dr William Noel  (University of Pennsylvania) 'Bibliography in bits: the study of books in the twenty-first century'
2013 Xu Bing: The Sort of Artist I Am
2012 Professor John B. Thompson: Merchants of Culture
2011 Professor Paul Eggert: Brought to Book: Book History and the Idea of Literature
2010 Professor Henry Woudhuysen: A.W. Pollard (1859-1944): Friends and Fine Printing
2009 Professor Jerome McGann: Philology in a New Key: Information Technology and the Transmission of Culture
2008 Professor Isabel Hofmeyr: Gandhi's Printing Press: Print Cultures in the Indian Ocean
2007 Professor Robert Darnton: Bohemians Before Bohemianism: Grub Street Libertines in Paris and London 1770-1789 - Keats and Posterity: Manuscript, Print, and Readers
2006 Professor Gary Taylor: The Man Who Made Shakespeare: England's First Literary Publisher
2005 Professor John Barnard: Keats and Posterity: Manuscript, Print, and Readers
2004 Graham Shaw: In or Out? - South Asia and a Global History of the Book
2003 Dr. Laurel Brake: 'Daily Calendars of Roguery and Woe': the Politics of Print in 19th-century Britain
2002 Dr Paul Needham: The Discovery and Invention of the Gutenberg Bible
2001 Professors Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy: Women's literary history by electronic means: the creation and communication of meaning in the Orlando Project
2000 Professor Harold Love: The intellectual heritage of Donald Francis McKenzie
1999 Professor Lawrence Rainey: The Cultural Economy of Modernism
1998 Professor Joseph Viscomi: Blake's Graphic Imagination: The Technical and Aesthetic Origins of Blake's Illuminated Books
1997 Professor Roger Chartier: Foucault's Chiasmus: Authorship between Science and Literature
1996 Dr David McKitterick: Printers in the Marketplace

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