History of the Book: Fall 2014


J. Fernando Peña


Long Island University


Fall 2014


This course is designed primarily for students who intend to work in special collections libraries or in the antiquarian book trade. Through lectures, visits to special collections repositories, presentations byexperts, and individual and group exercises, students will become familiar with recognized landmarks of the western book and with major theoretical approaches to interpreting “the book” in its broadest sense. Students will also become acquainted with the intellectual tools of the book historian’s trade,including technical vocabulary, bibliography in its various manifestations, and key information sourcesand reference works. By the conclusion of the course, students will be able to communicate in professional terms about book history with their peers, with typical users of special collections libraries, and with the general public. Prerequisite: LIS 510 or LIS 511.

While there is a theoretical book history component to the course, emphasis will place upon studying the book as object, i.e., the physical book itself. Less emphasis will be given to current theories of authorship, reading, and other aspects of book history that have become so popular in cultural and literary studies in recent years.

Required Textbook:

Carter, J. 2004. ABC for Book Collectors, 8th ed.
Chappell, W., Bringhurst, R. 2000. A Short History of the Print Word, 2nd ed.
Howard, N. 2009. The Book: The Life Story of a Technology.
Steinberg, S. H. 1996. Five Hundred Years of Printing.

Link to Syllabus:


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