Power and Print: The King’s printer in York

Tuesday 13th June 2023, 7:00pm - 8:00pm 29-31 Coney Street
Columbian Press


Fleeing from London in 1642, King Charles I immediately ordered the Royal Printer to follow him and set up shop in York’s St. William’s College. This reintroduction of the print trade in York was followed by months of feverish activity by the printer as the English Civil Wars continued.

Dave Harper, US-UK Fulbright Scholar at the University of York and Head of the Department of English and Philosophy at West Point, New York, will discuss how the relocation of the King’s Printer to York invites us to consider anew the relationship of print and power.

Examining the political pamphlets and broadsides printed in York as material performances of royal power (paying attention to format, font and technical aspects of printing), Dave will demonstrate how we may gain new insights into the conflicts at the heart of the English Civil Wars and propose that this moment constitutes an important decentering in the history of print in Britain.

The talk and Q&A will be followed by an opportunity for attendees to pull their own souvenir print on a traditional printing press.

About the speaker

Dave Harper is Professor of English Literature and Head of the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. For the past academic year, he has been a US-UK Fulbright Scholar at the University of York, pursuing research and teaching about the history of printing in York. He has written widely on early-modern and Restoration English literature and print culture. His book, Paradise Lost and the Making of English Literary Criticism will be published soon by Routledge Press.

This is a Festival of Ideas 2023 event. Check out their website to find out more about their programme of events.

Booking information


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