Forgeries, Fakes and Counterfeits

Quaritch in Oxford, 10–11 May 2024

We are delighted to co-sponsor Forgeries, Fakes, and Counterfeits in Print Culture: Texts, Editions, Copies, a two-day symposium at Lincoln College, Oxford, exploring textual forgeries, false imprints, editorial piracy, fabricated provenance, sophistication, and much more besides.  Convenors: Geri Della Rocca de Candal and Paolo Sachet.

Click here to browse a curated selection of publications and rare books and manuscripts on the subject of fakes and forgeries, including works on the Columbus Letter and the forgeries of T.J. Wise, books with false imprints, a forged work by Byron, and a book owned by a notorious Shakespeare forger.

About the Conference

‘From the spread of fake news to the rise of AI, in our everyday life as readers, scholars, and citizens, we are increasingly confronted with the slippery threshold separating reality and fiction. Yet on closer inspection it becomes clear that creating, altering, copying, and questioning the authenticity of information has always been at the very core of any intellectual, religious, political and economic activity.

The printed book, for centuries the most powerful medium for the circulation of ideas, is particularly central to this discourse, and it is no surprise that readers of all times as well as specialists are constantly challenged by the wealth of literary forgeries, fake imprints, fake authors, and material counterfeits. We are far, however, from an established definition of these notions, especially in their differences and overlaps.

This two-day symposium aims to explore the topic at three different levels. Texts addresses textual forgeries and manipulations of authorship; editions concentrates on false imprints, ‘refreshed’ title-pages, and editorial piracy, including that of written and illustrated paratext; copies looks into the alteration of individual specimens of an edition (sophistication, remboîtage, fabricated provenances, retouched decoration).’