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Updates from William Peterson

July 20, 2021 English

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Recent works and updates.

Emeritus professor William S. Peterson delivered an illustrated lecture, "The Kelmscott Press in a Nineteenth-Century Context" to the William Morris Society (London) via Zoom in spring 2021 as part of a celebration of the 130th anniversary of the founding the Kelmscott Press and the 125th anniversary of the publication of the Kelmscott Chaucer. Peterson has written extensively about the Kelmscott Press and other aspects of fine printing in Britain and America.

Peterson, one of the greatest authorities on the Kelmscott press, gave a virtual tour and printing demonstration.
When the first Kelmscott Press books began to appear in 1891, there was a tendency – certainly encouraged by Morris himself – to compare them with the impressive publications of the earliest printers. It seemed to many observers at the time that the Kelmscott volumes rivalled the beauty of the best fifteenth-century European books and represented a radical departure from the practices of the Victorian publishing world. However, now, 130 years later, it is perhaps easier for us to notice the strong parallels between the activities of the Kelmscott Press and some other remarkable attempts in his own century to revive the early traditions of book typography. William Peterson placed Morris's influential work at the Kelmscott Press in a Victorian context and examine the sometimes hidden links between the Kelmscott books and other examples of renewed vitality in British printing during the nineteenth century.