COMPLIT 140 - First-Year Literary Seminar
Section: 001 Life of the Book: How Texts Travel, Between Languages, Through Time, Space, and Media
Term: FA 2012
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Course Note:
A course in the LSA First-Year Seminar Program. Led by a faculty member, COMPLIT 140 is a study of selected topics in literature through classroom discussion and the writing of essays.
Requirements & Distribution:
Theme, FYSem, WorldLit
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Books are familiar objects for us. They are stacks of paper bound between two covers, relatively inexpensive and portable; everyone owns at least a few; great many are held in public and private libraries; when they are not being read, books sit on the shelf. But it has not always been this way. Throughout history people wrote, manufactured, owned, used, and passed on “books” in many different material forms. In this seminar we will consider various ways in which books have traveled through time and space, across languages, cultures, media, and worlds. The course is an introduction to intellectual and literary history specifically focused on the book phenomenon—that is, book as a concept, a cultural technology, and a material fact.

What can happen to a text when it is transcribed by various methods of reproduction (such as hand-copying, printing, photocopying, digitizing) or across different media, and genres? What is lost, or gained, when the text is translated—that is, transferred from one language to another, from one cultural context to another? How have material innovations in book-making at various points in history (such as the invention of codices, paper-making, printing press, machine-made paper) transformed people’s relation to books? What roles have books played in people’s lives and in the societies they construct? Are books becoming obsolete?

Course Requirements:

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Intended Audience:

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Class Format:


COMPLIT 140 - First-Year Literary Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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