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The official publication of the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS), the Journal of British Studies, has positioned itself as the critical resource for scholars of British culture from the Middle Ages through the present. Drawing on both established and emerging approaches, JBS presents scholarly articles and books reviews from renowned international authors who share their ideas on British society, politics, law, economics, and the arts. In 2005 (Vol. 44), the journal merged with the NACBS publication Albion, creating one journal for NACBS membership.


The JOHN BEN SNOW PRIZE is a $500 prize awarded annually by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book by a North American scholar in any field of British Studies dealing with the period from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century. The author must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada and be living in either country at the time of the award. Nominations may be made by the author or by the publisher of the book nominated. A publisher may nominate more than one title each year but should use discretion and not overburden the Prize Committee.

 The 2019 competition covers books published in 2018. Separate copies of the letter of nomination and of the book nominated should be sent by April 1, 2019 to each member of the Prize Committee. (Only books sent to every committee member can be considered.)
Note: U.S. authors and publishers sending book copies to committee members in Canada must specify contents as a complimentary book copy with $0 value on the customs form, and/or use USPS rather than private shippers, to avoid incurring a duty upon receipt. 
For prompt attention, mark packages 'NACBS Prize Committee'. Send all relevant materials to:

Chair: Ted McCormick
Department of History
J.W. McConnell Building,
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd W.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3G 1M8
[email protected]
Frances Dolan
Department of English 
Voorhies Hall
1 Shields Avenue 
University of California-Davis 
Davis, CA 95616
[email protected]
Will Cavert
History Department
The University of St. Thomas 
St. Paul, MN 55105
[email protected] 


Paula McDowell (New York University), The Invention of the Oral: Print Commerce and Fugitive Voices in Eighteenth-Century Britain (The University of Chicago Press, 2017) 

Why did eighteenth century commentators come to view oral knowledge as primitive, unreliable and even dangerous, epitomized by the figure of the loud but lowly fishwife? After all, for centuries the English Common Law had privileged oral testimony over written evidence (which could easily be forged). According to Paula McDowell the answer lies in the proliferation of print, especially in the wake of the lapsing in 1695 of the Jacobean Licensing Act. In her nuanced and original analysis of the impact of print culture she demonstrates how print commerce inspired explorations of the relationship between orality and literacy; speech and print; ideas of oral tradition and probability and credibility; and between traditional and scientific knowledge. As her title suggests, in a very real sense print invented oral culture. Furthermore, the process did not simply involve one medium replacing another, but the coexistence and inter-dependence of multiple types of media. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including ballads, engravings, poems, essays, newspapers, and satires, and analyzing ‘fugitive voices’ as well as well-known writers including Defoe, Dryden, Johnson, Pope and Swift, the book transforms our understanding of the effects of literacy and print on orality in all its forms.