HIST 17
The 16th- to 17th-Century World of Printed Texts and Images Winter 2022

Class Details

Imagine yourself back in a time without the computer technology that enables you to create, print out or distribute instantaneously innumerable illustrated texts with the click of a few buttons. In this multifaceted course, we will explore the 16th- to 17th-century world of printed books and images. Your eyes will be trained to recognize and appreciate the primary techniques in which printed images were made at this time. While becoming acquainted with the ways in which texts were printed by hand, you will learn how to examine rare books and evaluate how they were put together. Finally, you will be taught to think like a savvy publisher, endeavoring to earn a living by profiting from the rapidly expanding, international market for a diverse range of illustrated texts. In order to achieve these goals and fully appreciate what entrepreneurial artists, printers, and publishers accomplished centuries ago, lectures and assigned readings will be complemented by visits to local print collections and the consultation of illustrated rare books in the Chapin Library. For your final project, you will be expected to select an illustrated book from the Chapin collection and prepare a presentation on it for the class in which you highlight the topics addressed during the lectures. Evaluation will be based upon this presentation, in addition to class participation. I look forward to delving into the fascinating world of hand-crafted books and prints with you.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: by class year (oldest students first), and otherwise randomly
Unit Notes: Karen Bowen is an art historian, specialized in the study of prints, printmaking, and book illustration in the early modern period. She is currently preparing a book on the European print trade in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Materials/Lab Fee: none

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