Monday, 3 December 2012

Tales from Hogwarts

Hi everyone. Stupidly busy week coming up, just as I need to get some research done ha ha ha.

But in the meantime, here are some pictures (click to enlarge) from Chetham's Library in Manchester, where I went to a magnificent conference on Politics and Print. The rest are here.

The chained books are a few feet from the desk formerly occupied by Marx and Engels. Inspiration?

This drawing is by Elizabethan magician and statesman John Dee as a visual reminder of a breast-enlarging poultice. According to the recipe in Latin, the secret is to apply a cinnamon paste. 

The clock and entrance of Manchester Cathedral in the dark and freezing fog. 

As to the conference itself, it was glorious. We were in John Dee's old bedroom round a big old table, gathered to discuss printing and politics. We heard about Jacobite propaganda in the 1707-1745 period (and I learned that Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to confiscate the shoes of all Dundee's inhabitants in 1745). The career of radical publisher Henry Miller (temperance and free trade) was explained, before we had a piece on one wannabe media baron, Gwynne of the Morning Post, who tried to control the Tory Party's policy on Irish independence and unity (he was against them). 

Cordula Greinert came over from Germany to highlight 'camouflage pamphlets' from the Nazi period: anti-fascist propaganda disguised as popular mechanics guide, Nazi newspapers and the like - any way they could get anti-fascist stuff into Germans' hands. Some material was also sent to high-ranking officers by post in the hope they could be persuaded to turn. Unfortunately, most thought this was a loyalty test and reported receiving it rather than face a bullet for treason. We also had fascinating piece on publishing by and for exiled Greek communists during the dictatorship there. Finally, the last session covered conservative attempts to combat the cultural dominance of leftwing politics in the 1930s, an analysis of the History Workshop Journal's failed attempt to democratise and deprofessionalise history, and an amazing introduction to the world of radical printshops from 1968-1990s. 

It was one of those days which completely recharged the mental batteries.


Artog said...

Next time you're up in Manchester check out the John Ryland library on Deansgate, also very beautiful.

Some Chilean Woman said...

Amazing photos, amigo.Inspires me to get my camera out...and actually blog again!

The Plashing Vole said...

SCW: I hope you do! We've missed you.
Artog: I love the Rylands. One of my favourite places.