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Topics in the History of the Book: Reading and Writing in Renaissance England

ENGL 234.401
crosslisted as: HIST 411
instructor(s):
W 2-5:00
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course will focus upon the Bible, Shakespeare, Donne, and Herbert to explore the practices of reading and writing in Renaissance England. We will examine what poets, playwrights and translators actually did when they sat down to write (including the sources that they drew upon), how their texts were disseminated in manuscript and print, and how their writing was reshaped by publishers, printers, and readers in the Renaissance and later. The primary texts for the course will be Shakespeare’s Richard II, Hamlet, King Lear, the poetry of John Donne and George Herbert, the New-England Primer and the King James Bible. The seminar will make full use of the rare book collections both at Penn and at other Philadelphia libraries, as well as a wide range of web resources.