Book History

Expertise in Book History – including scholarly editing, the history of reading, and publishing studies – spans the early modern period to the present day.

John Drakakis’s Arden 3 edition of The Merchant of Venice will be the required text for the next generation of scholars, and he has been appointed by Routledge as General Editor, and contributing editor, of the revision of Geoffrey Bullough’s Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. Drakakis will be working with an international team of nine contributing editors to produce the multi-volume edition. Angus Vine’s first book, In Defiance of Time: Antiquarian Writing in Early Modern England, was published by OUP in 2010. He is also on the editorial board and one of the volume editors of The Oxford Francis Bacon: with Dr Richard Serjeantson (Cambridge) he is editing Volume III: Earlier Jacobean Writings 1603-1613, also for OUP. He has recently been appointed to the editorial team of OUP’s new edition of the works of Thomas Traherne. Neil Keeble’s AHRC and OUP Reliquiae Baxterianae project (2011-15) brings a further landmark edition to Stirling. The project supports a Stirling Research Fellow, Tom Charlton, who is based at the Dr. Williams’s Library. In 2013 Keeble completed Volume VI in OUP’s The Complete Milton: Vernacular Regicide and Republican Writings (co-ed. Nicholas McDowell (Exeter)), and in 2008 published his edition of Daniel Defoe’s Memoirs of a Cavalier, in the Pickering and Chatto series, the Novels of Daniel Defoe. Keeble, Katie Halsey and Claire Squires are currently working with the Innerpeffray Library, the first free public lending library in Scotland (founded 1680), to investigate its reading and borrowing histories.

Within the long eighteenth century research at Stirling has encouraged new ways of thinking about writing, readerships and traditions, from Katie Halsey’s monograph, Jane Austen and Her Readers, to Suzanne Gilbert’s work on Scottish ballads and oral traditions in print culture, and her General Editorship of the Stirling/South Carolina edition of the Complete Works of James Hogg. Halsey is also leading contributor to new directions in the history of reading. She is a member of two AHRC research networks, the Digital Reading Network ( and the Community Libraries: Connecting Readers in the Atlantic World, c.1650-c.1850 Network ( She sits on the Management Board of the Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945.

Within the modern and contemporary period, reading remains a strong research area. The Devolving Diasporas AHRC project repositioned questions of postcolonial production within an inquiry about the reception of diaspora texts. Bethan Benwell’s and Gemma Robinson’s Postcolonial Audiences: Readers, Viewers and Reception (co-ed James Procter), complements Halsey’s The History of Reading Volume 2: Evidence from the British Isles, 1750-1950 (co-ed with W.R. Owens), as does Benwell’s forthcoming monograph, Reading Across Worlds (co-authored with James Procter (Newcastle)). Padmini Ray Murray’s research on the Bengali book trade and the use of videogames to transmit Indian cultural history is supported by the AHRC. Squires’s editorial work steers the field’s understanding of the book in Britain 1914-present, as do Adrian Hunter’s articles on the short story genre. He will be co-editing (with Paul Delaney) the Edinburgh Companion to the Short Story, and is currently preparing a volume of Hogg's periodical writings, for the Stirling/South Carolina collected edition of his work. Squires is a volume co-editor for the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume 7: 1914-2000 (CUP, in preparation), and is the Associate Editor with responsibility for the Twentieth Century Book in Britain for the Oxford Companion to the Book (OUP, 2010).

Since 2009 Stirling’s Centre for International Publishing and Communication has developed its profile through enhanced research and KE themes in the following projects: the Scottish Universities Insight Institute Programme on ‘Independent Publishing’; the Book Unbound: Disruption and disintermediation in the digital age; an RSE Research Workshop on the social impact of literary festivals; the NESTA/AHRC/Creative Scotland Digital Research Consortium, with the University of St Andrews and the University of Strathclyde. The Consortium is led by Claire Squires and funds the research fellowship of Susan Berridge. The research team support a range of organisations as they work with digital experts to understand and test the potential offered by new technologies; to connect with wider audiences; and to explore new ways of working.

Dr Bethan Benwell

Susan Berridge

Tom Charlton

Professor John Drakakis (Emeritus)

Dr Suzanne Gilbert

Dr Katie Halsey

Dr Adrian Hunter

Professor Neil Keeble (Emeritus)

Dr Padmini Ray Murray

Dr Gemma Robinson

Professor Claire Squires

Dr Angus Vine

Students interested in Book History can pursue a range of programmes at Stirling. We offer taught MLitts in Renaissance Studies, Publishing Studies, Digital Media, Publishing and Law, and the MRes in Humanities, which offers students the opportunity to devise their own Masters programme in close consultation with a team of experts.