TDS Alumnus Receives Bibliographical Society of America’s Award

Textual Studies Alumnus, Andreas P. Bassett, received the Bibliographical Society of America’s 2024 Katherine F. Pantzer New Scholar Award. This award comes with an invitation to give a talk at their 2024 annual meeting and submit a publication to their journal Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Bassett is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, where he studies early modern literature and book history. His research interests include Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and the early modern London book trade. Andreas is the creator of the digital humanities resource, Marlowe in Sheets, which was featured as a digital exhibit at the 2023 Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting. In January 2024, Andreas will complete a short-term fellowship at the Huntington Library as a W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow.

Bassett’s paper, entitled “The Typographical Evolution of Printed Play and Sermon Titles in the Early English Book Trade, 1590–1640,” examines the verbiage and typographical layout of playbook and sermon titles printed in sixteenth and seventeenth century London. Through long-term analyses of title design features, including naming convention, word count, line count, capitalization, italics, and line breaks, he reveals the various general trends of typographical simplification and information streamlining in the printed titles of these two genres. Such title-page evolutions might indicate the presence of what Bassett terms the “Proot effect,” that is, the general tendency for hand-press era printed titles (and title-page paratexts more broadly) to adopt optimized typographical permutations over time. Thus, the paper proposes that aspects of Goran Proot’s documented  development of title-page paradigms in the early modern Southern Netherlands, as outlined in his PBSA article “Converging Design Paradigms” (2014), may have been concurrent across the North Sea in the early English book trade.