Studies in Book Culture

What did books look like in the past? Who owned them? How much did they cost? According to Marshall McLuhan, « the medium is the message ». So writing on a computer, using printed books or listening to a poetry reading are all very different experiences that inform our relationship to what we now call literature. This course will have two different aims: the first is to provide an initiation to the history of the book as we know it, from its manuscript origins to its most modern formats. Students will have the opportunity to learn the main aspects of its making and its evolution, but also technical skills like how to date a book or how to find its origins, as well as how to describe it using technical vocabulary in French; the second aim of the course is to build the ability of the students to read works of French literature in their original settings – print and manuscript – and to use editions of older texts critically (how to recognize a reference edition, how to read a critical apparatus, etc.).

Required readings:
All required texts will be made available on Canvas.

Corequisite: One of FREN 320, FREN 321, FREN 328, FREN 329, FREN 330.

Language of instruction: French

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