Rare Book School, University of Virginia, 14-18 July 1997--Course 16

Teaching the History of Books and Printing--COURSE READINGS

Instructors: Michael Ryan, Daniel Traister

  1. Required basic reading

Thomas R. Adams and Nicolas Barker, "A New Model for the Study of the Book," in A Potencie of life: books in society: the Clark Lectures 1986-1987, ed. Nicolas Barker (London: The British Library, 1993), pp. 5-43

Roger Chartier, The order of books: readers, authors, and libraries in Europe between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994)

Robert Darnton, "What is the History of the Book?" Daedalus, 111:3 (Summer 1982), 65-83--and often reprinted, e.g., in Reading in America, ed. Davidson, below.

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The printing press as an agent of change: communications and cultural transformations in early modern Europe, 2 vols. (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979)

Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The coming of the book: the impact of printing, 1450-1800, trans. by David Gerard (London and New York: Verso, 1990)

Philip Gaskell, A new introduction to bibliography (Winchester: St. Paul's Bibliographies; New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press; 1995)

S. H. Steinberg, Five hundred years of printing, 4th ed., rev. John Trevitt (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1996)

G. Thomas Tanselle, The history of books as a field of study (Chapel Hill, NC: Hanes Foundation, Rare Book Collection/Academic Affairs Library, The University of North Carolina, 1981).

  • Futures (electronic and otherwise)
  • The future of the book, ed. Geoffrey Nunberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)

    Daedalus, 125:4 (Fall 1996) (Books, Bricks, and Bytes)

    Recommended additional readings

  • The new book history
  • Barbara M. Benedict, Making the modern reader: cultural mediation in early modern literary anthologies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996)

    Megan Benton, "'Too Many Books': Book Ownership and Cultural Identity in the 1920s," American Quarterly, 49.2 (1997) 268-297 (available online to subscribers to Project Muse from The Johns Hopkins University Press)

    Cressy, David, Literacy and the social order: reading and writing in Tudor and Stuart England (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980)

    Robert Darnton, The business of enlightenment: a publishing history of the Encyclopédie, 1775-1800, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979)

    Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the word: the rise of the novel in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986)

    Lee Erickson, The economy of literary form: English literature and the industrialization of publishing, 1800-1850 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)

    Carlo Ginzburg, The cheese and the worms: the cosmos of a sixteenth-century miller, trans. John and Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980 [et seq.])

    Going public: women and publishing in early modern France, ed. Elizabeth C. Goldsmith and Dena Goodman (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995)

    Anthony Grafton, Commerce with the classics: ancient books and renaissance readers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997)

    David D. Hall, Cultures of print: essays in the history of the book (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996)

    Anthony Hobson, Humanists and bookbinders: the origins and diffusion of the humanistic bookbinding 1459-1559, with a census of historiated plaquette and medallion bindings of the Renaissance (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989)

    Alvin B. Kernan, Printing technology, letters, and Samuel Johnson (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).

    Harold Love, Scribal publication in seventeenth-century England (Oxford: Clarendon; New York: Oxford University Press, 1993)

    Walter J. Ong, S.J., Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the word, New Accents (London and New York: Methuen, 1982)

    The Practice and Representation of Reading in England, ed. James Raven, Helen Small, and Naomi Tadmor (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

    Printing and society in early America, ed. William L. Joyce, David D. Hall, Richard D. Brown, and John B. Hench (Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 1983)

    Janice A. Radway, Reading the romance: women, patriarchy, and popular literature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984 [et seq.])

    James Raven, Judging new wealth: popular publishing and responses to commerce in England, 1750-1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1992)

    Reading in America: literature & social history, ed. Cathy N. Davidson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989)

    Rosalind Remer, Printers and men of capital: Philadelphia book publishers in the new republic, Early American Studies (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996)

    Michael Winship, American literary publishing in the mid-nineteenth century: the business of Ticknor and Fields (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

  • Older book history
  • Richard D. Altick, The English common reader: a social history of the mass reading public 1800-1900 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957)

    Harry Carter, A view of early typography up to about 1600 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969)

    Rudolf Hirsch, Printing, selling and reading 1450-1550, 2nd ed. (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974)

    Dard Hunter, Papermaking: the history and technique of an ancient craft (New York: Knopf, 1947; New York: Dover, 1978)

    William M. Ivins, Jr., Prints and visual communication (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953)

    Colin H. Roberts and T. C. Skeat, The birth of the codex (London: Printed for the British Academy by Oxford University Press,1983)

    Rollo G. Silver, The American printer 1787-1825 (Charlottesville, VA: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia [by] the University Press of Virginia, 1967)

    Susan Otis Thompson, American book design and William Morris, preface by Jean Fran&Ácedil;ois Villain, 2nd ed., rev. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Pres, 1996)

    Lawrence C. Wroth, The colonial printer, 2nd ed. (1938; rpt. Charlottesville, Va: University Press of Virginia, 1964)

  • Pegagogical fictions
  • Many books illuminate the world of the printer, publisher, and author from a personal, interested, or non-scholarly point of view. These include memoirs or other more or less informal works such as those by Bennett Cerf, Siegfried Unseld (who also writes about Goethe and his publishers in a different kind of study), Stanley Unwin, and Frederic Warburg; house histories such as Ellen B. Ballou's of Houghton or Eugene Exman's of Harper; and biographies such as Thomas Balston's of William Balston and James Whatman or Nicolas Barker's of Stanley Morison. A vast host of such books, of greater or lesser reliability, is extant. Familiarity with at least an example or two, for their possible utility as class reading, is desirable.

    More "literal" fictions that might be considered for classroom assignments include (inter alia):

  • Electronic resources
  • Before class begins, students should familiarize themselves with the resources now found on the web. Start with the website developed by Patrick Leary for the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP)--a website that includes syllabi for courses in the history of books and printing:

    See also the website developed by one of the instructors:

    Note that many journals now maintain sites at which readers can find essays on a wide variety of topics related to the history of books and printing. See, e.g., the Project Muse site above, from which a link is provided to Megan Benton's particularly interesting (and amusing) sample of newer approaches to printing history topics.

  • General trends
  • Postmodernism
    A decent introductory book is David Harvey, The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change (Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 1989).

    The university
    A current work in this kind is Bill Readings, The university in ruins (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996).

    The sociology of knowledge
    Such older studies (very different from one another) as those by Karl Mannheim and Fritz Machlup are basic in this field, but Diana Crane, Invisible colleges: diffusion of knowledge in scientific communities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), might be particularly pertinent for people at work in a newly-emerging discipline. Other studies--e.g., Anne Goldgar, Impolite learning: conduct and community in the Republic of Letters, 1680-1750 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), or recent books by Paula Findlen and William Eamon--offer useful historical contexts in which to think about issues of concern to historians of print culture.

    The history of libraries
    For this topic the available readings are quite literally legion.

  • Some final words
  • We welcome suggestions of additions and deletions to this list, and critical comments, during (as well as before and after) class. This is one reason why we have mounted this list long before class is scheduled to begin and will keep it up long after class has ended. (The web permits the cumulative augmentation of knowledge in some new ways.)

    Bring copies of your own syllabi in sufficient numbers for the class. We need fifteen copies for a maximum of twelve students, two instructors, and the omnivorously archival RBS files. If you provide students with additional instructional handouts, use films or videotapes, have created a website of your own, or regularly schedule class visits to, e.g., libraries, printing offices, papermakers, bookbinders, or others, the class will benefit from as much such additional information about these resources as you can provide.

    Students who can e-mail such material to Ryan at ryan@pobox.upenn.edu or Traister at traister@pobox.upenn.edu, and who don't mind seeing their materials on the web, can expect to see them added here if they reach us before class begins.

    The more time you can give while in Charlottesville to browsing the collections--printed, audiovisual, and artifactual--of the Book Arts Press, the better off you will be. These collections are unmatched in the United States for the resources in a vast variety of formats they contain, and will be extraordinarily suggestive of areas that students can develop for use in their own teaching (and perhaps even in their own research).

    We have not located in-print materials on pedagogical practices in history of books and printing courses, aside from the syllabi and comments printed in SHARP's newsletter. Information on this topic about forthcoming work will be most welcome.

    Return to Daniel Traister's Home Page.

    Last update: 12 July 1997.