University of York 

the reception, appropriation, and use, of texts in warfare, 1450 to the present

King's Manor, University of York, 2nd and 3rd November 2007


Conference extended to two days


Registration form (pdf)

Registration form (word) 

Getting here 

Accommodation in York

Registration fee: 25 staff, 15 students/the unwaged. Lunches 5 per day.
Speakers will not be charged to register.

The relationship between books and war appears self-evident: books have acted as potent weapons in ideological warfare and war has provided literature with one of its most enduring themes.  Yet the reception, use and appropriation of texts in a military context has remained relatively unexplored.  This interdisciplinary conference will explore topics including the role of narrative in shaping combatants' experiences and interpretations of warfare, as well as the construction of narratives in the archive; the symbolic meanings attached to books as objects, as well as their functional uses (for lighting fires, rolling cigarettes, and more bodily purposes), and their status as targets; the ideological deployment of books, for example by the US Council on Books in Wartime; and the place of reading within the collectivist culture of the army, as well as the ways in which books were disseminated, read, and shared. Speakers will discuss the deployment and use of books in Africa, India, and Iraq, as well as across Europe and North America, from the end of the Hundred Years War to the present day. 

For further details please contact Helen Smith ( and Catriona Kennedy (

With the generous support of the Department of English and Related Literature, the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Royal Historical Society and the Bibliographical Society.