Background and activities

Yuri Cowan holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto, Canada, and came to NTNU in 2012 from a post-doctoral fellowship in the Research Project on Authorship as Performance (RAP) at Ghent University in Belgium, where he was again a visiting scholar in 2017-18. His current research works to describe diverse Victorian historiographies of everyday life. In the field of book history, he is interested in the material book, constructions of authorship, the history of collecting, and textual histories, especially with regard to the circumstances of the form, publication, and reception of nineteenth-century editions of medieval texts, such as William Morris's translation of The Ordination of Knighthood, which he edited for the Morris Archive. He has published various articles on Morris, the Aesthetic Movement, ballad literature, Victorian sporting periodical literature, and the reprinting of Victorian fantasy in the 1970s; he is currently completing a book-length manuscript entitled William Morris and Medieval Material Culture, and is beginning to write about the portrayal of book technologies in speculative fiction, as well as on SF's regional variations in Cascadia and California. He guest-edited a special issue of Mémoires du livre / Studies in Book Culture in 2013 on the subject of "Textual Histories," and is a founding editor (and was Managing Editor from 2011-2014) of the online peer-reviewed open-access journal Authorship. He is a member of the research project Norwegian Broadside Ballads 1550-1950: Recovering a Cultural Heritage, headed by Siv Gøril Brandtzæg, and was also a member of the Enlightenment News project (2013-17), headed by Paul Goring.

From 2019, he is co-editor (with Greg Barnhisel and Beth Le Roux) of Book History, the journal of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP). He is also a member of the advisory boards of the journals Authorship and English Studies.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Cowan, Yuri. (2020) William Morris's Book Collecting. Routledge Companion to William Morris.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2018) Orality, Authenticity, and the Historiography of the Everyday: The Ballad in Victorian Scholarship and Print Culture. Oral Tradition and Book Culture.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Sporting Periodicals. The Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) Translation, Collaboration, and Reception: Editing Caxton for the Kelmscott Press. To Build a Shadowy Isle of Bliss: William Morris's Radicalism and the Embodiment of Dreams.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2012) "Reading Material Bibliography and Digital Editions". Editors, Scholars, and the Social Text.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2010) Everyday Material Culture in the Medieval Tales of The Earthly Paradise. William Morris and the Art of Everyday Life.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2007) 'Paradyse Erthly': John Ball and the Medieval Dream-Vision. Writing on the Image: Reading William Morris.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2008) William Morris and Medieval Material Culture. 2008.


  • Cowan, Yuri. (2021) "Buried in the Transformation": The Treachery of the Written Word in SF. The Reader in the Book: Books, Reading and Libraries in Fiction . University of London; 2021-03-25 - 2021-03-26.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2020) Is Anything Truly Lowbrow? A Book History Perspective. Lenge Leve Lavkulturen! - Litterær Salong . Linjeforeningen Gengangere; Trondheim. 2020-02-28 - 2020-02-28.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2019) Asimov's Newspapers: The Material Book in SF from the Golden Age to the New Weird. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich ; Munich. 2019-06-25 - 2019-06-25.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2019) "Pretty Well Known, I Think": William Morris in the French and Norwegian Periodical Press. Literary Citizenship Conference ; Oslo. 2019-09-25 - 2019-09-27.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2018) The Authorial Presence of William Morris in Victorian Periodical Culture. CEL19 Lecture Series . Century for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Literature; Ghent. 2018-11-30 - 2018-11-30.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2017) 'A Great Instance of our Frugality of Words': Reporting the Local and Global Eighteenth Century in 140 Characters. The Rise of the Newspaper in Europe and America, 1600-1900 . Huntington Library; Pasadena. 2017-10-13 - 2017-10-14.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2017) Tree-Huggers and Terraformers: Science Fiction on the West Coast. Starmus in the City ; Litteraturhuset i Trondheim. 2017-06-20 - 2017-06-20.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) Playing at History: Anachronism and Crusader Kings 2. ESSE 2016 . European Society for the Study of English; Galway. 2016-08-22 - 2016-08-26.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2016) The Small Press Movement, Book Design, and the Origins of Modernism. Ugress 2016 . Litterært Kollektiv; Trondheim. 2016-09-14 - 2016-09-18.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) 'A Detail of Curious Traditionary Facts': The Justified Sinner and the Scots Mummy In and Out of the Pages of Blackwood's. James Hogg Society 2015 conference ; Toronto. 2015-04-09 - 2015-04-11.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2015) 'The Handiest of Men and Skilled in Everything': Morris and the Domestic Idiom of the Saga. Modern Language Association of America annual conference ; Vancouver. 2015-01-08 - 2015-01-11.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2014) Charting a Popular Readership for Medieval Literature in the Nineteenth Century. NTNUs Middelalderseminar ; Suhmhuset, Trondheim. 2014-05-29.
  • Cowan, Yuri. (2014) Worlds Die, Books Survive: Post-Apocalyptic Knowledge and Technology. Torucon 2014 ; Trondheim. 2014-08-10.