Dr Mark Bland

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Centre for Textual Studies

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8379

E: mbland@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/humanities


Personal profile

Originally from New Zealand, I moved to Britain in late 1989, and joined the Deparment of English and Creative Writing at De Montfort in September 2004.

I am at work on two major book projects: Jonson and Donne: Manuscript Traditions, Connections, and Revisions, and an old spelling edition of The Poems of Ben Jonson for Oxford University Press. The latter should appear in 2014: it is based on a full analysis of the textual evidence, including the collation and stemmatic analysis of Jonson’s manuscript and printed texts. Forthcoming article publications cover the fields of stemmatic analysis, printing-house history, Jonson’s books and intellectual biography, the textual evidence relating to his poetry, and the re-attribution of ‘Variety’ to Nicholas Hare.

Other publications have included a study of Italian paper in early seventeenth century England and its contexts, another on the lost manuscript of the ‘Certain Informations and Manners of Ben Jonson’ by William Drummond, ‘Ben Jonson and the Legacies of the Past’ and ‘The Verse Letters of Francis Beaumont to Ben Jonson and ‘The Mermaid Club’’ I have also published on the printing-house of William Stansby and the production of Jonson’s 1616 Workes, the typography of early modern books, the function of research libraries as memory and witness to the past, censorship, and the London book-trade,

If Jonson is the centre from which my work radiates, it is not only because I find his writings congenial, but because he offers such rich possibilities for archival and historical research. The textual scholarship of Shakespeare seems at times like a well tended paddy-field, but Jonson is more like the mountain ranges behind. With what we now know about his library and the surviving manuscript evidence, there is much to be explored and, almost certainly, more primary documentation to be found. My work has involved an exhaustive examination of the possible evidence that is, as yet, incomplete.

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

Click here for a full listing of Mark Bland's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Reviews of A Guide to Early Printed Books and Manuscripts.

“But this book contains useful material for any librarian seeking good arguments when advocating for the usefulness of their collection.”  (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, 2012)

“Showing an extensive knowledge of the scholarship in his field he provides an objective assessment, often correcting false reasoning and offering a sound explanation of the facts. For all these reasons, I believe that Mark Bland’s Guide would be of help to anyone interested in the discipline.”  (European Review of History: Revue europeenne d'histoire, 18 July 2012)

"Bland's book takes its place in a grand tradition of scholarly guides to analytical and descriptive bibliography ... Bland offers a clear and comprehensive guide to bibliography, and it is appropriate that it is most likely to come into its own as part of the work of making meaning, wedged open beneath a researcher's elbow." (The Review of English Studies, 23 December 2011)

“Altogether Bland’s ‘Guide’ is distinguished by intelligent and comprehensive coverage, by his extensive knowledge of current scholarship in the field, and by his personal research and rethinking. (The Library, September 28, 2011).

"This book is indeed a very practical, clear and valuable guide to books and manuscripts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . . . The book is well illustrated and Bland makes good use of the images, especially in his exemplary discussion in Chapter Two about how to use watermark evidence." (Script and Print, 1 August 2011)

"This book will equip students, perhaps encountering sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts for the first time, in their early printed or manuscript form (as distinct from modern editions), to approach bibliographical description and analysis without fear or confusion and, for those wishing to pursue the subject more widely, it will serve admirably as an introduction." (Routledge ABES, 2011)

"This is an absolutely essential book. We have excellent handbooks for English printed books and manuscripts, but no one book that takes us through every aspect of the making and circulation of texts, from paper to binding to reading. Mark Bland meets an urgent need."
Peter Stallybrass, University of Pennsylvania

Research interests/expertise

Jonson (and the influence of Jonson on the early career of Milton); Donne; Caroline poetry; early modern drama; manuscript studies including codicology, paleography and stemmatics; the paper-trade and paper studies;  the London book-trade in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries; the economics of the book-trade;  the printing-house (the Cross-Keys) of John Windet and William Stansby; the transmission and circulation of texts including book and  library history; censorship; analytical and descriptive bibliography; textual scholarship and genetic editing; humanism and the continental book-trade in England; and (as such a list deserves heaping) the influence of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries manuscript book-trade on early modern practices.

Areas of teaching

  • Chaucer, the Gawain poet, and late medieval literature
  • English Renaissance 1509-1642
  • Milton, the Civil War and the Restoration
  • Augustan Literature
  • Byron
  • Bibliography, Book History, Manuscript Studies and Textual Criticism


BA(Hons) BCA NZ D.Phil Oxon

Courses taught

English BA (Hons)

  • ENGL 1010 Poetry and Society,
  • ENGL 2018 History of English (1350-1750)
  • ENGL 3088 Sex, Belief and Society in Seventeenth Century Poetry
  • ENGL 3096 Texts ad Technologies

PhD supervision

Honours and awards

  • Vice Chancellor’s Research Leave (£8300), De Montfort University, October-December 2011.
  • Beinecke Library, Yale University, Frederick and Marion Pottle Fellow ($4000), September-October 2011.
  • Folger Shakespeare Library, Visiting Fellowship ($5000), July-September 2011.
  • British Academy Small Research Grant (£7500), August 2011.
  • Honourable Mention, American Publishers Prose Awards: Literature, Language and Linguistics, 2010, for A Guide to Early Printed Books and Manuscripts.
  • Katherine F. Pantzer Houghton Library Fellowship ($3500), Harvard University, June 2009
  • AHRC Research Leave (£26772), 2007-08.
  • British Academy Huntington Library Fellowship, October-December 2006.
  • Newberry Library, Chicago (Lester J Cappon Fellow), July-August 2006.
  • British Academy Small Research Grant (£7500), March 2006
  • British Academy Huntington Library Fellowship, May-July 2005.
  • Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas (Carl H. Pforzheimer Fellow), February-April 2003.
  • University of Kansas, (Kenneth J. Spenser Fellow), March 2003.
  • Bibliographical Society of America Research Fellowship, August-September 2002, for research at the Rosenbach Library, Philadelphia.
  • Beinecke Library, Yale University (A. Bartlett Giamatti Fellow), September 2001.
  • British Academy Small Research Grant (£4000), July 2001
  • Centre for Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts, April 2001.
  • Bibliographical Society Research Grant, February 2001.
  • Honorary Fellow, School of English, Victoria University, 1999-2000
  • Huntington Library, Los Angeles (Mayers and William A. Ringler, Jr., Fellow), November 1997-February 1998.
  • Newberry Library, Chicago (Lester J. Cappon Fellow), June-July 1997.
  • Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., August-September 1996.
  • Overseas Research Scholarship, University of Oxford, 1991-1993.

Conference attendance

  • Keynote address: ‘Transmission and Identity in Seventeenth Century Manuscript Studies’, Manuscript Studies Symposium, University of Uppsala, October 2011.
  • ‘From First Principles: The Oxford Edition of the Poems of Ben Jonson and Genetic Editing’, Folger Shakespeare Library, Fellows Seminar, September 2011.
  • ‘Jonson, Shakespeare and Sejanus: Contexts and Consequences’, Renaissance Shakespeare: Shakespeare Renaissances, Prague, July 2011.
  • ‘Jonson and Selden’, John Selden, University of Oxford, June 2010.
  • ‘Manuscript Connections and Textual Revisions: The Evidence of Donne and Jonson’, Renaissance Society of America, Università Ca Foscari, Venice, April 2010.
  • ‘Jonson’s Ramist Charts: Edition and Translation’, European Society of Textual Scholarship, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium, Brussels, November 2009.
  • ‘Jonson’s Private Philosophical Papers’ (Part 2), Society for Textual Scholarship, New York, March 2009.
  • ‘The Space of the Page in Early Modern England’, Modern Languages Association, San Francisco, December 2008.
  • ‘Jonson’s Private Philosophical Papers’ (Part 1), European Society of Textual Scholarship, University of Lisbon, November 2008.
  • ‘To His False Mistress: A Manuscript History’, ‘Lords of Wine and Oil’: Community and Conviviality in the work of Robert Herrick and his contemporaries, Buckfast Abbey, Devon, July 2008.
  • ‘Stemmatics, Society and the Transmission of Jonson’s Verse’, Manuscripts and Miscellaneity c.1450-1720, University of Cambridge, July 2008.
  • ‘The Textual Lives of Ben Jonson’, The Lives of the Book: Les Vies du Livre, Université Nancy 2, June 2008.
  • ‘Nicholas Hare’s ‘Variety’ and the Clitherow Miscellany’, John Donne Society, Baton Rouge, February 2008.
  • ‘Jonson’s Other Verse: Attribution, Textual Authority and Lost Poems’, Textual Scholarship and the Canon, University of Vilnius, November 2007.
  • ‘Jonson, Europe, and Science’, Political and Scientific Networks in England, France and the Southern Low Countries, ca.1580-1700, Université Libre de Bruxelles, November 2007.
  • ‘Typography, Meaning and the Workes of Beniamin Jonson’, Making Books, Making Readers, University of Cork, April 2007.
  • ‘The Imperfect Texts of Ben Jonson’s The Forrest’, Society for Textual Scholarship, New York, March 2007.
  • ‘The London Book-Trade in the 1590s’,Book Consumption in the Tudor Era: Printing, Publishing, and Reading, The Huntington Library, Los Angeles, April 2006.
  • ‘The Intellectual Geography of Jonson’s Reading: Ramism and the Synthesis of Knowledge’, Material Cultures, University of Edinburgh, July 2005.
  • ‘Stemmatics, Society, and the Circulation of Manuscripts in Early Modern England’, Society for Textual Scholarship, New York, March 2005.
  • ‘New Perspectives in Book History’, Texas Tech University, January 2004.
  • ‘Editing Jonson from Manuscript’, Texts, Ma(r)kers, Markets, University of York, July 2003.
  • ‘Jonson and the Inns of Court’, Gloriana, University of Oporto, June 2003.
  • ‘The transmission of Jonson’s Verse’, University of Texas, April 2003.
  • ‘Editing Jonson from Manuscript’, Society for Textual Scholarship Bi-Annual Conference, New York, March 2003.
  • ‘The Manuscripts of Sir John Roe’, John Donne Society Annual Conference, Gulfport ms, February 2003.
  • ‘Italian Paper in Early Seventeenth Century England’, Paper as a Bearer off Cultural Heritage, Instituto Patologia del Libro, Rome, September 2002.
  • ‘Jonson and European Scholarship’, Renaissance Go-Betweens, Munich, July 2002.
  • ‘Further Information: The Democritie Fragment and the Original Manuscript of Drummond’s Certain informations and manners of Ben Jonson’. The Versatile Text.University of Edinburgh, April 2002.
  • ‘Manuscripts of the Mind and their Makers: The Poems of Donne and Jonson’. Newberry Library, March 2002.
  • ‘The Origins of Lansdowne 740 and its Contexts’. University of London, November 2001.
  • ‘Jonson and ε’, Remarking the Text. University of St. Andrews, July 2001.
  • ‘The Origins of Sejanus’. Remembering Don McKenzie, Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand, July 2001.
  • ‘Jonson and Manuscript Culture’. English Faculty Seminar, University of Oxford, June 2001.
  • ‘A Tale of Two Manuscripts’, Center for Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts, April 2001.
  • ‘Jonson and ε’. Harvard University, April 2001.
  • ‘The Uses of Knowledge’, Material Cultures. University of Edinburgh, July 2000.
  • ‘Shakespeare after Sejanus’, Dislocating Shakespeare. University of Auckland: July 2000.
  • ‘Memory—Witness—Use: Books and the Circulation of Learning’, Guest Lecture, Alexander Turnbull Library; August 1999.
  • ‘William Stansby and the Production of Jonson’s Workes,1615-16’: Ben Jonson: History, Text, Performance. University of Leeds: July 1995.
  • ‘Typography, Text and Reading’, The Practice and Representation of Reading. Magdalene College, Cambridge: March 1992.

Current research students

Richard (Phil) Tromans, 2nd supervisor

Mark Bland

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A Guide to Early Printed Books and Manuscripts - Mark Bland
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