The Program in the History of the Book in American Culture (PHBAC) is hosting a new series of Virtual Book Talks. This installment features Megan Rosenbloom, who will present on her recent book Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).
On bookshelves around the world, surrounded by ordinary books bound in paper and leather, rest other volumes of a distinctly strange and grisly sort: those bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand?
In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy—the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, innocents, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.
The Virtual Book Talk Series showcases authors of recently published scholarly monographs, digital-equivalents, and creative works broadly related to book history and print culture. Each installment includes an informal presentation from the author and a Q&A with the audience. These talks are streamed live for registered participants and are recorded for posterity. Talks typically last 45 minutes.
Questions may be directed to Kevin Wisniewski, Director of Book History and Digital Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information on future PHBAC book talks may be found at https://www.americanantiquarian.org/virtual-book-talks.