Making the Book, Fall 2017

Course Description

One of the unexpected byproducts of the proliferation of new media platforms is a renewed appreciation of the book as a richly complex medium for literary expression. A book is never simply a neutral container of literary content: it both constrains and enables literary practices. This course will seek to develop an understanding of the book as a complicated material object, the product of specialized divisions of labor and diverse publishing practices of making, formatting, distributing, and selling physical copies of texts. There will be several hands-on exercises in making—and unmaking—books as well as directed research in Hillman Library’s Special Collections on the history of book production. We will investigate the relationship between the format of a book and various literary forms: how, for instance, does publication of a novel in serial numbers influence its style?