AP/EN 4720 6.00
Print Culture & the History of the Book
Print Culture and the History of the Book is a vast and continuously developing multidisciplinary field that explores the contribution of writing to the evolution of critical thinking, communication, and social development, from cuneiform-inscribed clay tablets to the latest electronic reading devices, and from moveable type to ebooks. This introductory course considers the book as the dynamic convergence of engaged and visionary individuals and communities with a specific set of cultural, religious, political, and economic circumstances. Through a variety of theoretical models borrowed from history, sociology, and literary criticism, we view the book as a material object and commodity, as a time-traveling messenger, as a meeting place between reader and writer, as the inspiration and propagator of major intellectual movements, and as a receptacle of our histories through which the past may be recalled, and the present and future pondered. Technology facilitates this quest by allowing us to visit venerable libraries, retrieve rare books, and conjure up obscure writers and scholars online. This course is process-focused, and reading- and writing-intensive: Students must be avid readers and invested researchers and contributors. Each class begins with a short writing exercise on the readings.
Course credit exclusions: None.
PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusion: AS/EN 3900 6.00, AS/EN 4280 6.00.