About this course
Printing, or the capacity to reproduce text and image mechanically, has rightly been hailed as a technology with far-reaching impact. But the technology takes more than one form and originated in more than one historical context. This course is based on the Prints and Manuscripts in Western Europe, Asia, and the Middle East during 1450-1650.
In this module of The Book: Histories Across Space and Time, you will learn how early printed books in mid-fifteenth century Europe were first modeled on medieval manuscripts, but soon developed new conventions that remain familiar to us today. This module also explores printing in East Asia, by woodblock and movable type, and the late dominance of prints and manuscripts production in the Islamic world.
In the first units of this module of The book: prints and manuscripts, we compare and contrast manuscripts and printed books produced mainly in Europe from 1470-1700, looking at continuities and differences in layout, format, and the methods, materials, and economics of production. We also discuss examples of illustrated books and of handwritten annotations in books, including marginal annotations by readers and the marks of censors.
Two shorter units in this module focus on printing in East Asia, especially China, to highlight the features of woodblock printing which was common there, and in the Middle East, especially the Ottoman context, where a vibrant manuscript culture remained dominant until 1800. Taken together, this module gives an overview of three different contexts and technologies of book production before 1800.
Each unit features rare manuscripts and printed books in the Harvard Libraries, which viewers can investigate in more depth within the courseware and on their own.
What you will learn?
- How a printed book differs from a manuscript
- Difference between xylography and typography
- Printing of illustrations
- Censoring of books
- How printing developed differently in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East
Syllabus on The Book: Prints and Manuscripts:
1. ‘The Book: Histories Across Time and Space
- Welcome to ‘The Book’
- Welcome to Houghton Library
- Introducing Mirador
- Important Pre-Course Survey
2. Prints and Manuscripts: Introduction
- Introducing Print and Manuscript
- The Atlas of Early Printing
- The Early Printed Book
3. The Physical Book
- The Physical Book
- Discussion: The Physical Book
- The Physical Book
4. Print and Manuscript
- Manuscript in the Age of Print
- Print and Manuscript Comparisons
- Student Manuscripts
- Print and Manuscript
5. Prints and Manuscripts: Printing, Publication, and Distribution
- Print, Publication, and Distribution
- Rules and Regulations for the Early Modern Printed Book
- Example of Early Censorship
- Printing, Publication, and Distribution
6. Illustrated Science
- Leonhart Fuchs, De Historia Stirpium (1542) and Primi de Stirpivm Historia (1545)
- Manuscript by Petrus Apianus
- Pierre Belon, De Aquatilibus Libri (1553)
7. Comparandum: Islamic Manuscripts
- Islamic Manuscripts
- Discussion: Islamic Manuscripts
- Islamic Manuscripts Quiz
8. Comparandum: Printing in East Asia
- Welcome to Harvard-Yenching Library
- East Asian Printing
- Discussion: East Asian Printing
- Printing in East Asia
9. Prints and Manuscripts: Further Reading
- Further Reading
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- Harvard University
- Online Course
- 1-4 Weeks
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- Ancient languages Asian and Middle East History Books and Manuscripts Culture European History History