CfP: English Literature in Your Pocket: The Tauchnitz Edition and Other Paperback Series (Leipzig, November 2020)

Bernhard Tauchnitz’ Collection of British and American Authors, initiated in 1841, was not only a successful entrepreneurial endeavour but a milestone in the history of print culture as well. The Leipzig-based Tauchnitz publisher, renowned all over the world for his series of affordable pocket books in English, produced more than 5000 volumes within the course of over 100 years. Cultural and literary repercussions of this unique achievement have been far-reaching since the 19th century. It pioneered a new way of mass-market publishing, innovative copyright arrangements and a close cooperation with many important English-language novelists of the day. Still in present times, the Tauchnitz Edition and its successors are stimulating both academic research in various fields and the enthusiasm of collectors and readers (cf. e.g. Todd/Bowden 1988; Jaillant 2017; Mienert/Keiderling/ Welz/Böhnke 2017; Troy 2017).

This conference aims at uniting a broad variety of interests and different perspectives on the Tauchnitz legacy in particular and on English language paperback series in general, providing a platform for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and views at a historical location. We want to situate and evaluate this phenomenon in the context of our increasingly digital contemporary society.

We invite contributions from academics, scholars, collectors and other interested persons with a background in such fields as Publishing, History of the Book, Literary Studies, Material Culture, Cultural Studies, Victorian and Modernist Studies, addressing, among others, the following issues:

– The Tauchnitz firm and family; biographical, economic and cultural perspectives

– The scope of the Tauchnitz Edition: authors, genres, production and distribution, use and reception, formal aspects etc.

– Tauchnitz and his authors, textual editing – text editions

– Issues of literary history and canonization; bestsellers and rare items

– History of paperback books and series (Tauchnitz, Albatross, Everyman’s, Penguin etc.)

– Copyright and international distribution; Anglo-German exchange

– Leipzig and other places as centres of book trade and cultural transfer

– Typographical and bibliographical issues, library holdings

– Bibliophiles, collectors and the community of readers

– Digital humanities – digital Tauchnitz

The organizers intend to publish the accepted conference papers and results of further discussions as a collection of academic essays.

Proposals for papers should be sent via email to and by 15 March 2020. Please provide name, institutional affiliation and email address as well as the title of the paper together with your abstract of not more than 250 words. All authors of proposals will be notified in April 2020. For any further questions, please use email addresses above.

Conference languages: English and German


Prof. Dr. Stefan Welz, English Department, University of Leipzig

Dr. Dietmar Böhnke, English Department, University of Leipzig

PD Dr. Thomas Keiderling, Department of Book Studies, University of Leipzig

Melanie Mienert, M.A., Department of Book Studies, University of Leipzig


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