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Colloquium lecture addresses role of the printing press

Thursday, March 15, 2012

FREDERICK, Md.—The role of the printing press in preserving and distributing information about ancient Roman architectural and artistic heritage is the topic of a lecture April 3 at 7 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood College.

The lecture is part of the College's annual Center for the Humanities spring colloquium series, which is funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

April Oettinger, assistant professor of art history at Goucher College, and Paul Dowling, owner of a rare books dealership in Washington, D.C., will give a talk, "The Virtual City: Renaissance Guide Books and the Lure of Rome." They will address not only how some of the earliest illustrated "guide books," which described ancient Roman architectural monuments and sculptural remains, appealed to the historical imagination of its readers, but also how the printing press aided in circulating information to a wide audience that included artists, architects, kings, pilgrims and tourists.

Oettinger teaches courses on the history of the book and book illustration in the Western world. Dowling is the founder of Liber Antiquus, which specializes in printed books from the 15th century to the Early Modern period and manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment.

Future colloquium events include a lecture April 9 by Juniper Ellis, professor of English at Loyola University Maryland, who will speak about the unique history of the modern tattoo; and a lecture April 19 by Rebecca Skloot, award-winning author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

This year's colloquium, themed "The Book: From Print to the Digital Age," explores the past, present and future of the book, along with the numerous cultural changes it has weathered during its 2,000-year history. From the print traditions of medieval Europe to the impact of today's digital technologies on human communication, the colloquium will examine whether the age of the printed book is coming to an end.

The lecture is co-sponsored with the department of art and archaeology.

For more information, contact Rebecca Prime, Ph.D., Sophia M. Libman NEH Professor of the Humanities, at prime@hood.edu.