Colloquium: Jamie Horrocks

Date(s) - 03/14/2024
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

4010 JFSB


Associate Professor Jamie Horrocks, English, will present for the Humanities Center’s weekly colloquium on Thursday, March 14th at 3:00 PM in 4010 JFSB.  We hope you will join us. Refreshments will be served.

Title: “Manufacturing the Victorian Page: Graphic Design Before Graphic Design”

What can you make a letterpress do? Given the mechanical and technological restraints of the bed, the frame, the platen, and the type, and given enough determination and skill, what kinds of designs can you wring from a machine that remained essentially unchanged from its sixteenth-century inception in Europe to its nineteenth-century iteration? Perhaps more importantly, what guiding principles should direct a compositor’s efforts? In Victorian Britain, these questions filled much of the trade literature that was exchanged between printers eager to test the limits of letterpress production. But unlike their descendants in the twentieth century, nineteenth-century printers had no body of theory to inform their experiments, no schools of graphic design to look to for inspiration. So they looked elsewhere, eventually lighting upon the principles espoused by a parallel set of non-letterpress printers whose job-work—with calico, silk, linen, and delaine—lay in the crosshairs of the Victorian design reform movement. My presentation will examine the graphic principles that emerged from Victorian design reform and consider how these aesthetic ideas were remediated by letterpress printers into something like a theory of graphic design before the advent of graphic design.

About Jamie:

Jamie teaches classes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature and culture and literature by women. She specializes in late-Victorian aestheticism and gender and sexuality studies. She uses an interdisciplinary Victorian studies methodology in her courses and her research, bringing literary, artistic, popular, and historical texts into conversation in order to broaden the scope of critical analysis. Professor Horrocks’s research interests include late-nineteenth-century British aestheticism, including high art, popular, and Arts and Crafts aestheticism. Her work in late-Victorian literature and culture includes forays into food culture, Ritualism and British Anglo-Catholicism, history of the book, early Bloomsbury aesthetic theory, neo-Victoriana, and the nineteenth-century narrative essay. Professor Horrocks received her Ph.D. in English and Victorian Studies from Indiana University in 2010, where she also served as managing editor of Victorian Studies. She completed her MA and BA degrees at Brigham Young University.

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