Harry Ransom Center presents Original Copies: The Facsimile Before Photography
Called “the nightmare of book collectors” by John Carter and Nicolas Barker, facsimiles do not hold a particularly revered position in bibliography and book history. The opposite of the venerated “original,” facsimiles are seen as a compromise at best and downright deception at worst. And, yet, people have long been driven to make reliable copies of old documents.
Jane Raisch’s lecture will delve into the pre-history of today’s digital reproductions, looking in particular at the creative technical strategies that 16th- through 18th-century scholars and printers devised to reproduce the visual qualities of inscriptions and manuscripts. It will ask how and why early print copied material objects that came before, and, in the process, it will rethink and expand our understanding of what facsimile can mean today.
The lecture will be followed by reception.