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Topics in the History of the Book: Reading, Writing, and Printing in Early Modern England, Europe, and America

ENGL 234.401

This course focuses upon the making, remaking, dissemination, and reading of texts in early modern England, Europe, and America. The topics we will explore include: the variety of forms of writing (on walls, stone, scrolls, and erasable notebooks, as well as in books); the interrelations of printing, writing, and orality; the different methods of reading and interpreting texts. We will be able to look at and work with an extraordinary range of primary materials at the Library Company (the lending library that Franklin founded), the Free Library, and the Rosenbach Library, as well as at Penn. The books for the course will include the Bible, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the New England Primer, and Franklin's Autobiography.

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 3: Early Literature to 1660 of the Standard Major