The Book Blog

March 26, 2009

SCOB recieves several mentions in SHARPNews Vol 18 no1

Filed under: Reviews,Uncategorized — fhartree @ 12:25 pm
  • Scottish Reader Remember Project recieves a mention under the article Imprentit: 500 years of the Scottish Printed Word by Ruth M, McAdams.
  • The influence of Benedict Anderson was reviewed by Gail Low of University of Dundee.
  • Alistairs McCleery’s case study on the publishing history of the Penguin edition of Lady Chatterley’s lover was praised for its convincing arguement for a transnational approach to book history by Susann Liebich, Victoria University Of Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr. Thomas Keiderling, Lecture , 16th of March 09 and possible Edinburgh-Leipzig partnership

Filed under: Events — fhartree @ 9:17 am


Lecture and possible Edinburgh-Leipzig partnership by Willy Kelly


On Monday 16 March Dr. Thomas Keiderling of Leipzig University’s Department of Book Studies gave a lecture on contemporary German publishing to an audience drawn largely from Napier’s M.Sc. course on Publishing. After answering questions on a variety of topics he was followed by Christian McLean of Floris Books, who drew on his experiences to talk about buying and selling book rights in Germany and to give a survivor’s guide to the Frankfurt Book Fair for the inexperiences publisher. The formal part of the session was closed by SCOB’s Sarah Bromage, who generously took time off from her role as a retail therapy consultant, to speak about a film, found in the Edward Clark Collection, of a leading firm  in printing technology in Germany between the two world wars, Ariston Elka, which had branches in Berlin and Dresden. More informally Alistair McCleery showed the audience some examples of the high standard of typographical design of the 1920s and 1930s, which are preserved in the Clark Collection.

On the following afternoon Dr. Keiderling discussed at some length the possibilities of co-operation between his department and Napier with Alistair, Mary Fischer and myself. Although the discussion concentrated on publishing, I personally hope that there may be scope later for co-operation in the other areas of book history for which Leipzig and Edinburgh have rich library resources. I would be delighted if SHARP were to earmark Leipzig for its biannual meeting in Europe.

Dr Thomas Keirderling visits Edinburgh Napier University

Dr Thomas Keirderling visits Edinburgh Napier University

March 17, 2009

Dr Linda Fleming-16th -19th February 2009 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.

Filed under: Research trips — fhartree @ 12:18 pm
Tags: , , – for images related to this research trip


Well it had to happen eventually – my interviewee for today cancelled on me – or at least he postponed, which makes my last 3 days here just a bit busier than I’d like. This morning was spent in the archives listening to some oral histories and getting out of bed for this task wasn’t easy today – I think I’m flagging a bit.  The woman whose history I listened to woke me up however, I wonder if she is still around (she was interviewed over 10 years ago); she is quite a character and at one point in the interview describes herself as ‘a reader’. Of course, these interviews did not have an agenda of books and reading –and there is no more mention of this – so I’ll always have to wonder. But she is fulsome on her experience of coming to New Zealand from Scotland in 1948 and describes this as her ‘destiny’. With more time, I might have been tempted to track her down. When I got the news that the afternoon was unexpectedly free, I decided to have a walk up (this is the operative word!) to Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery where all of the city’s past Scottish worthies are planted. I took the scenic route via the university, but got a bit lost and it occurred to me that as I walked on totally by myself up a steep and winding road– that this maybe wasn’t such a good idea…  The district immediately around the uni is student bedsit land, and as you would expect, it’s a bit lacking in the home beautiful stakes. It’s such a shame really because these are lovely old houses – Linda G – you would love them! Many are weatherboard, and adorned with Victorian iron fretwork. Unfortunately most have that, ‘let to many not careful tenants’ look about them and the whole district feels – well frankly, a bit eerie. It will likely be different when all the students return next week and add their shabby chic colour, but for the moment the decay is all too evident – I even saw the eponymous abandoned fridge in one front garden. Having spoken with a few Dunedians about it – they recognise that this looks bad for their city, as it is so close to the centre, but students the world over will be students… I didn’t make it to the cemetery and likely won’t on this visit. Indeed, there are many things I won’t have time for on this visit…In meantime am signing off as have early start and cannot miss that bus!


17th February 2009 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.



Today took me to Mosgiel, which is a sort of satellite town of Dunedin with a population of a little under 10,000. It was once home to a large woollen mill. In the post war period, many employees of the mill were new immigrants from Scotland. After my interview with a lovely man who settled in New Zealand in the 1960s, I had time to spare before my bus back to the city was due. I had a look round and found a public library, a second-hand bookshop, and a book- exchange. In the latter –The Crafty Book Exchange — books can be swapped for a charge of between $2 -2.50NZ, or purchased for between $5 and $6.  Certainly, this is very much cheaper than the cost of new paperbacks in this country. The most popular titles are of the family saga type of tale. The shop assistant cited Maeve Binchy as a particular favourite read of customers, and her own preference for Catherine Cookson, or ‘tales of old Britain’ as she put it. This exchange has been going for 27 years quite successfully. It has been hot – hotter than usual for Dunedin today, the students are also back in town and the city was looking lively and very attractive – I wish I had more time here…


18th February 2009 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.


Today has been another day of desperately trying to fit too much in to the 9-5. Another interview about reading, this time with a retired Presbyterian minister; I need not have feared the Rev I.M. Jolly however, he was a charming and generous man and very well read on a wide range of non-fiction. His lighter reading is the Scots’ Magazine, which can be purchased easily in Dunedin. The interview took place in  the First Presbyterian Church and this gave me the opportunity to look round this landmark building, which is a good deal less austere than the kirks I recall from my Ayrshire childhood, when I masqueraded as a child of the parish in order to get on the Sunday School outing! It is, in fact, rather beautiful. By chance on my walk round to this appointment, I happened on the ‘Carnegie Building’, which until the 1970s housed the Dunedin public library – it’s not hard to spot really as the brick work is emblazoned with thistles! This evening I had dinner with Keith Maslen who lectured at the University of Otago until his retirement; he is now an Honorary Fellow and still keeping busy. Keith has done some excellent research on the Naseby Atheneum, which once flourished in 19th century gold rush Otago. He has been generously supportive of my work here. Tomorrow is my last day here, and I go tired but happy…


19th February 2009 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.


Last day, and a mad dash to get things done; another interview in a house high on a hill overlooking the very impressive port of Dunedin, a very quick meeting at the University, and sadly, a failure to get to the Hocken library before last orders! My interviewee today is a Gaelic speaker – but she only learned after she’d emigrated to New Zealand!          There was once a flourishing Gaelic Society in the city – but no more.  I’ve been out for dinner tonight, cooked by my Kiwi pal Julie, ably assisted by young chef Scott – I was also introduced to their flock of sheep! I’ve packed my case (sort of) and am now looking forward to my holidays in New South Wales – so sign off for now.



March 10, 2009

Keith Maslen appreciates the SCOB bulletin from afar!

Filed under: Uncategorized — fhartree @ 1:45 pm

Dear Friend,

I much enjoyed the copy of your SCOB Bulletin and Review (vol. 3 no. 1) that Linda Fleming kindly left in the University of Otago English Dept. Please put me on your emailing list for future copies. Linda’s visit was much appreciated here. I believe that she found much to do here for her project and made very good use of the short time available. Our Scottish connections have always been strong in this region, and with the recent appointment of new University staff in English and History have been much strengthened.

Dr Keith Maslen

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