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Course Description

From clay tablets, the scroll, moveable type, and mechanized printing, this course will follow changes in European book culture from 1500 BCE to 1575 CE. We'll study such transitions as the move from oral to written culture, how the codex replaced the scroll, and what role the book played when literacy was limited. Artists' portrayals of books will reveal cultural attitudes. You will do Internet searches outside of class and bring images to discuss. We will visit the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Duke's West Campus. Our path will go from northern Africa and the Middle East to Irish illuminated manuscripts, Charlemagne, and the rise of European universities. We'll talk about the impact of the "Gutenberg revolution" on European political and religious history. Reading lists will be available, but outside work won't be essential to this course. By the conclusion of the 10 class sessions, we hope to gain perspective on ways that electronic book formats are affecting contemporary society. Lecture (plus Questions); Facilitated Discussion; Viewing Videos; Field Trip(s)
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