The Rise of the Literary Annual, Powerful Femininity, and Beautiful Books: Talk & Exhibition

The Rise of the Literary Annual, Powerful Femininity, and Beautiful Books offers an exhibit and lecture about the rise of the beautifully-bound and wildly popular British literary annual, a genre of early-nineteenth-century publication that is based on the rich diversity of European religious emblems, French almanacs, and British conduct manuals. The literary annual provided a space for re-creating a massive reading public who enjoyed poetry, travel tales, gothic short stories, images of popular (yet difficult to reach) artwork, morality short stories, fantasy, and other early forms of literature. By 1828, the craze for literary annuals overwhelmed booksellers and drawing rooms in England, France, South America, and finally, America, where publishers shamelessly pirated copies of the London volumes, even exchanging an anglo-centric poem for one that celebrates the nascent formation of American pride. Harris’ talk will touch on these topics as well as the beauty of these 200-year old books with an invitation to audience members to browse through an exhibit of representatives from her personal collection of silk-bound literary annuals (American, British, and French), hand-sewn almanacs, and gilt-edge anthologies. (Based on Harris’ literary history, Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual 1823-1835)

Book Club of California

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San Francisco, CA 94108
United States