Fellow: Awarded 2013
Field of Study: Intellectual and Cultural History
Competition: US & Canada
Leah Price is Professor of English at Harvard University, where she teaches the novel, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British culture, gender studies, and the history of books and reading. In 2006 Price was awarded a chair in recognition of exceptional graduate and undergraduate teaching.
Price is the author of How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton UP, 2012), and The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel (Cambridge UP, 2000). She edited Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books (Yale University Press, 2011); Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (with Pamela Thurschwell); and (with Seth Lerer) a special issue of PMLA on "The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature." She writes on old and new media for the New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, and Boston Globe. She and Ann Blair have also organized two conferences, Why Books and Take Note.
The Guggenheim Fellowship will support Price’s research for her new book, Out of Print: How We Read and Read. The way we once red, the way we now reed: so close and yet so far. Whether the age of print feels safely remote or uncannily familiar, whether paper and glue inspire them with impatience or with nostalgia, Americans today are thinking – and feeling – about books more than ever before. Out of Print aims to understand why printed books are being desecrated, worshipped, recycled, and reimagined by so many people from designers to clerics to activists to artists; from engineers at Google who have beautified their offices with the spines of volumes disbound for scanning, to convicts forming book clubs that constitute one of the few majority-male reading spaces in present-day America, to volunteers who spend their retirement coaxing dyslexic children to read aloud to homeless puppies.
Profile photograph by Jon Chase.