ENG 5933: The Book as a Material Object
Spring 2012 Course Syllabus

Weekly Schedule of Readings and Exercises


Class Details

Meeting: Tuesdays & Thursdays Room: Williams 116
Time: 12.30-13.45
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Instructor: David L. Gants Office: Williams 316
Telephone: 617-379-0987 (Skype) E-mail: dgants(at)fsu.edu
Office Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 09.00-10.30 or by arrangement

Course Overview

Course Goals. Books are eloquent witnesses to their own creation, circulation, and reception. Each leaf bearing inked impressions of long-recycled letterforms and elegant autograph marginalia speaks from the eyes and the hands and the minds of those who made those marks. Watermarks hiding in the fibers of the paper hint at the aesthetic desires of those who twisted wire profiles into miniature icons and sewed them onto the waiting paper mould. Mise en page reveals how the sophisticated mixture of text and paratext interact to create complex layers of meaning. Because it involves careful listening to what an object tells us, this course might also be called The Autobiography of a Book. It complements more theoretical and sociologically oriented History of the Book offerings by approaching the book as a physical artifact, exploring various methods of bibliographical analysis, and engaging in current scholarly debates.

Course Requirements.

Primary Texts. This course has five required texts:

Course Policies.