SMC228H1 Lecture Notes - Robert Darnton, Vellum, Gutenberg Bible

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19 Nov 2012
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Course
September 27, 2011
The Manuscript Book and the Early Printed Book
Williams and Abbott
-New Bibliography and rise of critical editing
-New Criticism
Bibliography as foundational (though clearly less important) role
-Rise of Book History
Bibliography as “critical as well as fundamental”
-Critical bibliography -- different editions of Shakespeare; people wanted the
“best” edition
-New bibliography -- not always about the editor’s opinion (I like this one
best, so that will be our edition), go back and establish the earliest edition
and give that precedence
-Book History -- things outside the text aren’t important (historical, econom-
ic) and let’s just do close reading (opposite of McKenzie and Darnton)
-Establishing the text
-Resurgence of interest in bibliography in the 1970s
-Rise of literary criticism -- place text back in historical period
-Became a fundamental practice to literary studies
-Some editorial interpretive things going into production of bibliography
What is bibliography?
-Bibliography = “the study of books, including their texts, materials, history,
production, and distribution; also an account, list, or description of books or
words” (Williams and Abbott, 143)
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Branches of Bibliography
Reference Bibliography
Analytical Bibliography
Descriptive Bibliography
Physcial Bibliography
Historical Bibliography
Bibliography
-Reference bibliography: branch of bibliography concerned primarily with
enumerating, describing, and providing access to works as opposed to books
(or other documentary forms)
-Historical bibliography: a wider, broader approach to bibliography associat-
ed with the larger questions Book Historians like Robert Darnton ask.
-Analytical bibliography: the branch of bibliography “from the book out” - de-
voted to determining the circumstances of books’ production through exam-
ining such physical evidence such as ink, paper, typography, format, and ar-
rangement of text
-Descriptive bibliography (what we do): the branch of bibliography con-
cerned with the principles and practice of describing the physical materials
and forms of books (and other printed documents). Also, the product of such
a study, such as a description of the books that have presented texts of an
individual author’s works
W.W. Greg
-“The process of transcription is characterized by variation […] such varia-
tion may be assumed to be universal, every transcription introducing some
variants” (qtd. in Williams and Abbott, 7)
-This is true, no matter by what media means “transcription” takes place
-No two editions/versions are the same when they’re transmitted
-We need to be aware of the transitions
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The Process of Transcription: Manuscript Production
What is a book?
-(relatively) portable
-Container for a fairly significant amount of text
Difference between codex and book?
-Codex = “a book (as opposed, say, to a papyrus roll); in particular a manu-
script book. The plural is codices”
-A book that opens and closes
Forms of Early Manuscript and Printed Materials
-Early Chinese bamboo books
-Asia and Europe = innovations happened simultaneously
Papyrus Roll Books (Scrolls)
-Earliest surviving roll book dates from the 4th century BC
-Prominent in Egypt and Greek civilization
-In decline by the 3rd century AD -- rise of Christianity which favored the
codex format (rise of Christianity = rise of codex)
Parchment Codices
-Made of sheets of parchment folded into leafs
-Favored by Christians because the form was distinct from other religious
writings (i.e. scrolls)
Paper Codex
-Paper: writing material made from pulped rags, wood, or other fibrous ma-
terial
-Invented in China as early as 1st century AD
-Imported to Arab world by 8th century
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