En 140

Literature in the Marketplace of Books

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
How did early readers experience the printed page? How did changes in the conditions of book production shape this experience? And what can modern readers learn of these experiences through our own technologies? In this course, we will explore these questions and ask how our understanding of literature changes when books are considered in terms of their physical characteristics and in relation to the broader marketplace of which they were a part. Our inquiry will be organized around important developments in the history of the early printed book: the re-discovery of classical texts by humanists; the mass production of religious books during the Protestant Reformation; the emergence of political pamphlets and newsbooks during the English Civil War; and the rise of new forms of literature like playtexts, romances, and novels. The course will include work with rare materials at the Henry E. Huntington Library as well as an introduction to the digital tools that scholars are developing to analyze books at scale.
Instructor: Koch

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