History 62, The History of Reading, Spring 2012

History of Reading
Spring 2012
Professor Burke

Books for purchase

Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe
Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France
Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran, Random House
Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
Ted Striphas, The Late Age of Print, Columbia University Press

This course is an examination of the closely interrelated histories of reading, writing and books, with a major focus on the so-called “Gutenberg revolution” and its impact on the publication, circulation and use of books.

Students will examine the roots and spread of reading, and wide variations in its forms and nature. The course is intended to explore why people across time and space have read, what the consequences and meaning of reading have been and might yet be, and even whether we should read. The course examines reading and publication as art, skill and technology.

Assignments for the course, in addition to regular attendance, engagement with the material, and participation in class, are two short papers, one of them involving revision, and one longer research paper.

Wednesday Jan 18th

Introduction

The Deep History of Reading

Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, pp. 3-78

Wednesday Jan. 25

Wolf, Proust and the Squid, pp. 81-229
Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy, pp. 1-30, 139-150. (Available via Tripod as an ebook.)
*Henri-Jean Martin, “The Written and the Spoken Word”, in The History and Power of Writing
*Diringer, The Book Before Printing, pp. 1-52

Gutenberg, Print Culture and the Massification of Reading

Wednesday Feb. 8

Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, pp. 3-101, pp. 102-122, 164-285. 313-358

Wednesday Feb. 15
* Elspeth Jajdelska, “Samuel Pepys in the History of Reading”
Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, pp. 3-246

FIRST PAPER DUE: 3-4 pg. response paper on article on 18th Century reading & the print revolution (different articles distributed to each member of class)

Wednesday Feb. 22
Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, pp. 1-145, pp. 237-320, pp. 365-438
*David Hall, “Readers and Reading in America”, in Cultures of Print

Wednesday February 29

*Isabel Hofmeyr, The Portable Bunyan, Chapter 6
*Isabel Hofmeyr, “Reading Debating/Debating Reading” in Africa’s Hidden Histories
*Vukile Khumalo, “Ekukhanyeni Letter Writers” in Africa’s Hidden Histories
*Bhekezizwe Peterson, “The Bantu World and the World of the Book”, in Africa’s Hidden Histories

SPRING BREAK

Reading Practices and Places

Wednesday March 14
H.J. Jackson, Marginalia, Chapters 1 and Chapter 8 (ebook)
*Ann Blair, Too Much to Know, Chapter 2
*Matthew Battles, Library: An Unquiet History, Chapter 1
*Alberto Manguel, The Library At Night, pp. 6-105

Film: Helvetica

Meditations on Reading

Discussion of topic selection and search strategies for final paper.

Wednesday March 21
*Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book, pp. 3-58
Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Second Paper Due

Wednesday March 28
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran
*Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris

Topics for final paper due.

Reading, Its Others and Futures

Wednesday April 4
Ted Stiphas, The Late Age of Print
*Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies
*Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture

Wednesday April 11
Stephen Ramsay, “The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around, or What You Do With a Million Books”
*Anne Balsamo, “The Work of a Book in a Digital Age”
*Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New
Institute for the Future of the Book
Futureofthebook.com
Google Books and Kindle hands-on

Wednesday April 18
*Manuel Lima, Visual Complexity
*Edward Tufte, Envisioning Information
*Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
*Mitchell Stephens, The Rise of the Image, The Fall of the Word
Wordles hands-on

Wednesday April 25
*Nick Monfort, Twisty Little Passages
Inform 7 hands-on

*Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees
*Stephen Ramsay, Reading Machines
Bookworm, http://bookworm.culturomics.org
Google NGram

Gabriel Hankins, “Henry James on Twitter”
Twitter and texting hands-on

FINAL PAPERS due MAY 14, 5pm.

One Response to History 62, The History of Reading, Spring 2012

  1. Alan Jacobs says:

    Dude! — I am honored to be in such company.

Comments are closed.