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History of the Books, 15th -18th Century

ENGL 297.401
M 2-5:00

"The History of Print Culture in Early Modern Europe" will be taught as a seminar, focusing upon historical and theoretical readings and the study of rare books in some of Philadelphia's extraordinarily rich collections. The seminar will be held in a variety of locations, including the Penn Rare Book Room, the Library Company, and the Free Library. All of them welcome students who are handling rare books for the first time. The course will be organized as a series of case studies, which will include: 1) the formation of the "author" as a category; 2) the uses of woodcuts and engravings in books; 3) eating the book (a study of the bible, focusing upon Ezekiel and Revelation); 4) "popular" uses of books; 5) the book as a material form and its alternatives (scrolls; tablets; wall paintings; graffiti etc.); 6) learning the alphabet and learning to read; 7) oral and written culture, with particular attention to the printing of plays."

The texts for the course will Roger Chartier, The Order of Books; Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms; Shakespeare, Hamlet; Cervantes, Don Quixote; The New-England Primer; Samuel Richardson, Pamela .

fulfills requirements