ENG 5805: The The History of the Book
Spring 2014 Course Syllabus

Weekly Schedule of Readings and Exercises


Class Details

Meeting: Tuesdays Room: Bellamy 045
Time: 15.35-18.15
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Instructor: David L. Gants Office: Williams 316
Telephone: 617-379-0987 (Skype) E-mail: dgants(at)fsu.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays 09.00-10.00 or by arrangement

Course Overview

Course Description. This course seeks to examine the rise of the codex book in western culture and its impact on individuals and institutions. It begins with a historical survey of the varied forms of textual reproduction used by different cultures, including the development of paper and block printing, vegetable and animal manuscript scrolls, and procedures for storing and cataloguing books. The bulk of the course covers the codex book from its emergence in late classical antiguity to the present day, with an emphasis on the main components of the industry: the spread of manuscript culture, development of textual materials, and proliferation of orthographic forms; early print technologies of the common press, movable type and laid paper; state and trade institutions of regulation, control and distribution; the industrial age and the development of machine presses, mechanical typesetting, new illustration processes and mass-produced paper; shifts in patterns of readership and reception from the first Frankfurt Book Fair through modern mass marketing; and the current “death of the book” age of post-modern readers, e-books and the Internet.

Course Requirements.

Primary Texts.We will use four books for this course:

Additional readings will be in the Blackboard Course Library or available on the Web. You should also download and consult as needed:

Course Policies.