Matt Poland Book Historian / Librarian


Current Research

I work on Victorian print culture, particularly how the Victorians engaged with the past through literature, libraries, and material objects. I have a particular interest in Shakespeare's life in Victorian culture.

I completed an MA at the University of York focused on book history and subsequently pursued an MLIS at UNC Chapel Hill. I am now developing a project examining how the Victorians read and used books printed in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in how rebinding early books affected their literary status, and how nineteenth-century historicisms and “library science” continue to inform our understanding of literary culture. I'm also interested in the relationship between material form and literary form (especially in periodicals) and Victorian thing culture (especially when those "things" are books).

I have presented my work at the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals and the North American Victorian Studies Association, and I have also published in SHARP News.

Below is one of two copies of the first quarto of Hamlet, which was discovered in a dusty country house library in the 1820s and rebound in an attractive red leather binding by the British Library - giving it the look of a valuable cultural artifact which the "barbarously cropped" 1603 text itself did not have. (BL shelfmark C.34.k.1, image from Digital Renaissance Editions)


Next project: → Current Teaching

Previous project: ← Rare Books @ UW

Current Research