ENGLISH 450 - Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Section: 001 From Tablet to Tablet: A History of the Book
Term: WN 2013
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Can you judge a book by its cover? In this class, we will. In fact, we will start before books had covers – with cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls thousands of years old – and end with today’s e-books that exist in the ether of the internet feeding your iPad or Kindle. The main focus of the course, however, will be medieval manuscripts and early printed books, when the codex took the form we know today. You will learn how to transcribe different types of medieval handwriting, how to date a manuscript, and how to edit early texts. As we read together Middle English and Early Modern literature such as Chaucer and Shakespeare (as well as more obscure writing), we will look back at their original forms, always more complicated and beautiful than today’s neat, cleaned-up editions. There will be a special “Skin Week” where we will theorize the book as skin (parchment or vellum manuscripts) and the skin as book (tattoos, bodies, etc).

Course Requirements:

Classes will sometimes meet at the Library’s Special Collections Department to examine papyri, manuscripts, incunabula, and more recent printed books in person; final projects may involve exploring the archives.

Intended Audience:

No experience in pre-modern literature required, only the desire to touch really old books.

Class Format:

No data submitted

ENGLISH 450 - Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (REC)
13Jr or Sr
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780801487088
Introduction to Manuscript Studies, Author: Raymond Clemens & Timothy Graham., Publisher: Cornell Univ. Press 2008
ISBN: 9781405192781
A companion to the history of the book, Author: edited by Simon Eliot & Jonathan Rose., Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell [Reprint] 2009
ISBN: 0802081797
The British Library guide to printing : history and techniques, Author: Michael Twyman., Publisher: University of Toronto Press 1998
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