(HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar

(HOBAR) Open University History of Books and Reading Seminar
9 April 2018, 5.30pm - 7.00pm
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Samantha Rayner (University College London)

‘Penguin Parade! Penguin Books and the Venture into Periodical Publishing’

This session will explore how Penguin Books experimented with periodical publication of new writing in the late 1930s. The Penguin Parade series was the first real set of Penguin Periodicals, and the first volume, published in November 1937, was edited by Denys Kilham Roberts. With the onset of the war and the advent of Penguin New Writing in 1940 the series ended. The frequency which in 1938 produced three issues, gradually diminished to one per year. The series was restarted in 1947 under the editorship of J. E. Morpurgo. Despite a new cover, a new focus on critical and informative contributions, and the inclusion of photographs and colour plates, only three were produced. What impact did these two short-lived series have? What was their place in creating new spaces for writers in the pre- and post- Second World War period? 

Samantha J. Rayner is a Reader in Publishing at UCL, where she is also Director of the Centre for Publishing. She teaches and writes on publishing and book related topics, with special interests in publishing archives and publishing paratexts, the culture of bookselling, editors and editing, and academic publishing. She has also taught extensively on English Literature courses and has specialisms in Medieval and Arthurian texts. She is Deputy Editor of the Journal for the International Arthurian Society, General Editor for a new series of publishing and book trade minigraphs with CUP, called Gatherings, and a member of the UCL Press Board. Part of her current research is investigating how Penguin Books made canonical texts accessible to the general reader: Penguin Parade was an intriguing find as part of that work.


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