In Conversation with Emma Smith on Portable Magic (In-Person)

Date / Time

  • March 28, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States




Portable Magic is a history of one of humankind’s most resilient and influential technologies over the past millennium—the book. From disrupting the Western myth that the Gutenberg Press was the original printing project, to the decorative gift books that radicalized women to join the anti-slavery movement, to paperbacks being weaponized during World War II, to a book made entirely of plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese, Portable Magic explores how, when, and why books became so iconic. Every book is designed to influence our reading experience—to enchant, enrage, delight, and disturb us—and our long-standing love affair with books in turn has had direct, momentous consequences across time. 

About the Authors 

Dr. Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, and the author of This Is Shakespeare (2020). She lives in Oxford, England. Her research combines a range of approaches to Shakespeare and early modern drama. Pedagogy is important to her and she continues to work on readerly editions of early modern texts and on books, articles and lectures which disseminate research to the widest possible audience.  

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