Juliet Fleming will be coming to speak in the Seminar in Cultural History, Wednesday, September 23, 2009 on: “The English Press and the History of Wallpaper, 1500-1702.”

Dr. Fleming is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English at New York University, where she has been since 2008. She received her B.A. from Cambridge University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she was on the Faculty of English at Cambridge University where she held the position of Lecturer from 1998 to 2008 and Assistant Lecturer from 1994 to 1997.

Professor Fleming is the author of Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England (Reaktion and the University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001) for which she received the Choice, Outstanding Academic Title Award. In 2007 she published, Taxidermies: the Work of Peter Briggs (Tours, 2007). She is currently working on two projects: Counterproduction c. 1600: Essays in Cultural Graphology, a monograph on sixteenth-century literature and print culture and, The Renaissance Collage, a collection of essays, edited together with William Sherman and Adam Smyth, on the early modern practice of cutting printed texts.

Professor Fleming’s talk is entitled, “The English Press and the History of Wallpaper, 1500-1702.” In 1563 Delft printer Herman Schinkel attempted to answer charges that he had printed prohibited books and ballads by claiming that they “were printed in his absence by his servant, and on his return he refused to deliver them and threw them in a corner intending to print roses and stripes on the other side, to paper attics with.” The practice Schinkel described, whereby printers produced decorative or “damask” papers by printing designs on the reverse of proof and other “waste” papers, is attested by the survival of such papers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on walls and in deed boxes, and suggests that the history of English letter-press printing might profitably be re-located within the larger context of the reproduction of visual material on paper. This talk will consider such evidence as can now be recovered concerning the production, distribution, and use of these earliest English wall-papers; and will trace their strange and enduring involvement with the cancellation—indeed, the censorship— of early modern printed texts.