Here is an outline of the classes in Textual Histories. Read texts that appear under the Reading heading before each class. We will refer to The First Folio of Shakespeare throughout the semester, and I make note of relevant portions in weekly reading assignments. However, I recommend reading the book in its entirety early in the semester, since it provides a very good introduction to several topics of interest to the class. Further reading and Reference are not required reading for class, but are intended for helping you to pursue particular topics in further depth. Bring copies (paper or digital) of relevant reading materials to class each week, along with your copy of An Introduction to Book History (IBH).
WEEK 1: Introduction
WEEK 2: Textual vocabularies
An outline of key terms and vocabulary required for understanding and discussing Bibliography, Textual Criticism, and Digital Humanities.
Reading: ‘Preface’ and ‘Introduction’ (IBH); Classifying the Text; Gleick, ‘Books and Other Fetish Objects’.
Further reading: McKenzie, ‘The Book as an Expressive Form’; McGann, from ‘The Socialization of Texts’.
WEEK 3: Fundamentals of bibliography & textual criticism
Reading: Chapters 1 & 2 (IBH); ‘Five Fundamentals of Bibliography & Textual Criticism’; Gaskell, ‘Introduction’; Blayney (9-11).
Further reading: Kable, ‘The Influence of Justification on Spelling in Jaggard’s Compositor B’; Nichol, ‘Melville’s ‘”Soiled” fish of the sea”; Blake ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ (1790).
WEEK 4: Anatomy of the book
Mise en page–making the page & breaking the page.
Reading: Chapter 3 (IBH); Page Opening; Forme; ‘Bibliographical Terms and Symbols’; First Folio (9-16, 21-24).
Further reading: Williamson, ‘An Early Use of Running Title and Signature Evidence in Analytical Bibliography.’
Reference: Carter, ABC for Book Collectors; Suarez and Woudhuysen, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardiman); Glaister, Encyclopedia of the Book (Hardiman).
WEEK 5: Making the book I
An examination of the processes and artefacts involved in making a book, including: paper, ink, type, composition, imposition, proofs, press-work, and binding.
Reading: Chapter 5 (IBH); Handout; First Folio (1-8, 17-32); Gaskell, ‘The Hand-Printed Book’. Also see Darnton, ‘What Is the History of Books?’ (68).
**BookGloss assignment due**
WEEK 6: Making the book II
Descriptive Bibliography: how to describe the physical book and the results of the book-making process.
Reading: Gaskell, ‘Imposition’; Gaskell, ‘Descriptive Bibliography’; Blayney, ‘The Structure of the Book’ (9), ‘The Order of the Pages’ (12).
Further reading: Belanger, ‘Descriptive Bibliography.’
Reference: Impos[i]tor, Folger Shakespeare Library; ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue); ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online); BBTI (British Book Trade Index).
WEEK 7: Textual transmission
The transmission of a printed text results in variants. How do the scholar and the editor treat these variants? Does an ‘authoritative’ text exist, or are texts fluid?
Reading: Chapter 4 (IBH); Williams & Abbott, ‘A Text and Its Embodiments’; First Folio (9-16, 21-24).
Further reading: Bornstein, ‘What Is the Text of a Poem by Yeats?’.
Reference: Gaskell. From Writer to Reader: Studies in Editorial Method (Hardiman).
**Book biography assignment due**
WEEK 8: Medium, meaning, reading I
How does the shape of the physical book influence the text that it contains, and they way that we read it? Can the study of reading contribute to literary history and literary criticism?
Reading: Chapter 6 (IBH); Jackson, ‘Physical Features’; First Folio (32-46).
Further reading: Altick, ‘Introduction’ from The English Common Reader; Blair, ‘Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload ca. 1550-1700’.
Browsing: Underground New York Public Library.
WEEK 9: Medium, meaning, reading II
The shape of books to come. What happens to texts when they move online or to a mobile device? How does digital technology shape text and the reader’s experience of text?
Reading: Chapter 7 (IBH); Darnton, ‘The Information Landscape’.
Further reading: Crane, ‘What Do You Do with a Million Books?’.
Browsing: William Blake Archive; Rossetti Archive; Walt Whitman Archive.
**Final essay due**
WEEK 10: Conclusion
Bibliography show & tell: students will make a brief presentation about an aspect or feature of the book that they adopted for class. Wrap-up and class evaluations.