The Archeology of Text

SYLLABUS VIEW, English 241.001, Fall 2015, TuTh 3:00-4:15, Athenaeum  435

Weekly Schedule and Assignments  Last edited: 02/08/2017 16:18

Note: Assigned readings are in online full-text documents, public folder postings, photocopies, and printed texts.  Read the syllabus carefully, with an eye for typography and color, to know where assigned readings can be found.  Some reading assignments are indicated for students with particular interests (e.g., digital coding), but required readings are all indicated by

Boldface type warns you when the assignment comes from required printed textbooks, an actual DVD (vs. a web video), or in photocopied handouts you should get in the preceding class.  An underscored title in black indicates readings that are located on GoucherLearn Hyperlinks to online readings are underscored in blue textWords in italics, unless they are book or periodical titles per MLA style, are general discussion topics, but don't let them keep you from bringing up other issues.

        Because all class meetings will take place in the Rare Book Seminar Room (Athenaeum), wash your hands before each class so that we will be able to handle rare materials on any given day without special preparation.  If you make it a habit to do so before entering any rare book collection, you will have developed one of the first essential traits of the rare book researcher.  Then take a few minutes to put your bags or backpacks in the lockers in the entrance hall of Special Collections where they will be safely guarded by the attendant at the front desk.  You can bring to the classroom paper notebooks, laptop or tablet computers, cellphones set to "buzz" or "Airplane Mode," and pencils--no pens, please.  Also, even if you arrive in haste or distracted from another course, please take a moment on the way into the collection to slow down.  Haste and inattention are the enemies of fragile old documents.  Treat yourself with care, and you will be ready to treat the books with care.  As often as necessary during the semester, refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.

Week 1 Texts, Archives, and Research Today--The Nature of the Problem

Tuesday, 9/1: Course introduction; choice of "cadaver books"; syllabus and web-site review; reading assignments in various textual media (original print, photocopy, scanned PDF, digital versions of print on GoucherLearn, "born digital" on the Internet); graded work (writing on digital, print and MS texts, your "cadaver book" description, and the independent research project); sharing our interests as researchers.  What brings you to this course?  What do you hope to learn to do?  What textual media do you think you will want to research independently?  Review of "seeing vs. reading" skills. 

Thursday, 9/3:  Hard Choices Dead Ahead!:  Logistics, economics, cultural change and modern technology vs. the survival of print media.  What was "microfilm" and how did it affect pre-digital attempts to solve archival storage space problems?  What will happen to "news" when newspapers go out of business?  What can real newspapers tell the researcher that digital images cannot?   What will the flood of digital text mean for current and future writers, readers, and researchers?

(Manoff's article is hyperlinked above through JSTOR, which requires the Goucher firewall for permission to read it.  Consider firewall permission to be a general requirement for any scholarly articles hyperlinked to this syllabus.)

        Before class, visit these two web pages describing two major microfilming initiatives that have now gone digital: dissexpress.UMI.com (formerly University Microfilms International, microfilm repository of all doctoral dissertations completed in the United States of America) and Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (an ongoing attempt to rescue images of unique Christian manuscripts stored in libraries vulnerable to destruction by wars, initially those in European states bordering the former the Soviet Union and thought likely to be destroyed in the event of nuclear war).   To prepare for a lab experience comparing digital images with real newspaper pages, see these images of the London Gazette for January 24 and October 1, 1688.  What do the digital surrogates conceal from you that handling the actual broadsheets might reveal?  If you have time, visit the London Gazette online archive.  Check out this "bad microfilm" picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson, of "Chicago Black Sox" fame.  Could you positively identify anyone in the picture?  Is GoogleBooks any better than the C20 microfilmers?  Try looking at The Art of Google Books for some examples of what digitization is doing to print.


Week 2:  Research in Digital Texts: Digital Text Construction, History, and Future

Monday 9/7: LABOR DAY HOLIDAY  To prepare for this week's classes on digital texts and archives, spend some time thinking about where you get your "news" (i.e., recently researched facts and interpretation of facts), and where you go for authoritative "olds," the news about the past.  Do you use wild-caught Web sites that Google or some other search engine hands you, or have you developed a relationship with some persons or organizations whose reporting quality you trust?  What digital literacy technologies do you currently use to access new and old information and interpretation of the facts?  How do those sources and technologies affect your reading and writing?  Consider both academic and private uses of literacy in your memoir.  Because you will have a long holiday weekend to think about this, you will have time to ask your parents and others where they go for facts and wisdom, and what tools they use to acquire it.  Come prepared to help the class develop a picture of how digital literacy has overtaken print and manuscript literacy, and how the three literacies currently co-exist for each of you.

Tuesday 9/8:  How are digital documents made and read, from the "standalone word processor" era to the present day?  How do computers store and represent text to us?  What are the layers of digital code, file architecture, and other software and hardware that are required to operate digital media?  How do they compare with the apparatus needed to produce and read text in manuscript and print media? 

Before class, read and follow one or two of the hyperlinks to individual e-reader reviews,

Note that, because Carnoy's article is "born digital," you might, by now, read a later "edition" of the e-book reader comparison than the one I linked to in August, but you may not read the original unless you know how to excavate if from the Internet's "archives" of past Web pages.  You may read Baker in the hyperlinked web version (blue underscore above) but that version has not been updated.  Why not?  How does The New Yorker treat Baker's writing differently from the way CNET treats Carnoy's writing?   (Carnoy replaces the 2009 CNET review by Dan Falcone.)  Can you spot anything on the Baker article's screens that has changed since 2009?  What changed and why?  Keep track of your reading experience.

Thursday 9/10: Internet/DarkNet  How are digital documents stored, retrieved, and archived on networks linked to the Internet?  Networks, packet-switching, and the history of the Internet and World-Wide-Web.  

To understand the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which determines how packets are routed from your device (computer, smartphone, tablet) to other devices and storage servers which  create the screen you are  viewing,

If you have time or are specifically interested in issues of textual legitimacy, political power, and resistance, visit some "darknet" portals by clicking on these linksNote--some pornography and other content you might object to may be found on these sites, together with the expected political activism and high-end hacking tools.  Caveat lector.  Also consider what kind of libertarian media mélange this type of "library" might represent.  They have existed before, for instance in London at "Paul's Walk," the street before St. Paul's Cathedral, where the "Paul's Walkers" recited dangerous political satires and exchanged useful political and economic secrets.   Popup bookstores at Paul's took the form of people walking the street with stacks of printed broadsheets and pamphlets, sometimes attached to the insides and outsides of their clothes.  These documents would have been dangerous for licensed booksellers to carry because they revealed government or business secrets, or satirized the powerful.)


Week 3:  Research in Archives of Digital Texts: Digital Text Construction, History, and Future

Tuesday 9/15: Topic 1--What non-malicious factors affect the ordinary survival of digital documents under the best of circumstances, and what must be done to preserve digital information? 

If you are interested in library and information science, especially access to digital journals, see WWW.Portico.org.   It is a digital archive service for scholarly publication paid for by contributions from a consortium of academic libraries.  Access fees are based on a percentage of the participants' annual "Library Materials Expenditure" (the budget bottom line minus buildings and peoples' salaries), ranging from about $25,000 for a $25-30 million budget, to $1545 annually for a $150,000-250,000 budget.  They allege that their redundant server capacity will safely preserve our access to journals we have committed to digital-only access even in the event of natural catastrophes. They offer free access to journals whose access had been permanently ended by other means (publisher out of business, etc.).  Editorial, 2004, October 14: Digital Archives of Early Scholarly Journals: The Scholarly Societies Project and the Reportorium Veterrimarum Societatum Litterariarum (Inventory of the Oldest Scholarly Societies) support the digital preservation and reproduction of early modern scholarly journals now only rarely held in print collections, including those of the Royal Society of London (founded 1660) and the Académie Royale des Sciences (founded 1666).

Topic 2 (cont. Thursday)--How does online reading, especially hypertext reading, affect readers' experience of the text

Thursday 9/17: Topic 2 (cont.)--How does online reading, especially hypertext reading, affect readers' experience of the text?  We will try to finish any unresolved discussion of Bolter's forecast of the "dialogic" hypertextual world he imagined in 1991.  Then we will turn from Bolter's theoretical predictions to look at Ralf Schneider's review of research in cognitive studies for what it can tell us about readers' actual experiences of digital hypertext reading and reading in standard printed texts. 

If you are interested in education, composition instruction, or other fields which will be affected by young readers coming to literacy digitally ("born digital"), take a look at the other web pages for today which offer some more ways to explore reading on either side of the digital/print divide, and in some of print's previous forms that Bolter mentions (e.g., unpunctuated, un-word-divided texts from the sixth century).

Topic 3: What challenges do digital surrogates pose for print literature and the future of the book? 

Optional Added Reading: If you are interested in the evolution of image reproduction, including simulation, forgery, and other forms of duplication of known works of art or commerce, read Maria Bustillos, "How High Def Is Changing Your Brain--and Driving the Prop Master Crazy: Real life at 48 frames per second can blow your mind, or just look fake," Bloomberg Business (www.bloomberg.com), July 20, 2015. We will encounter image reproduction technologies like woodblocks, engravings, hand painted illumination in print and manuscript texts, and these technologies also can be used to produce forgeries.  Even some of the cadaver books are forgeries, or at least "false imprints" which are not what they appear to be, and art forgery (including rare books) continues to be a major issue in textual scholarship.


Week 4:  Research in Archives of Digital Texts: Digital Journalism as Research "Bedrock"; Digital Text Archive Construction, History, and Future

Tuesday 9/22:  The printing press and mass literacy predate by only a few hundred years the unexpected return (after Athens' fall in 400 BCE) of democratic governments, in which informed citizens vote on and otherwise affect their laws and government policies (wars, trade, crisis aid, etc.).  Democratic governments' quality of life depends, fundamentally, upon the quality of information available to each citizen, and that information (since the early 1600s) was provided by journalists reporting the "news," literally the new things that had happened or had recently been discovered.  Think about why the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids any law restricting the freedom of the press.  But the Founders made no provisions for the quality of reporting we get from our press. How will digital journalism affect the future of news, newspapers, reporting and reporters?  How has Wikipedia become so many people's online "library," and what makes Google the "librarian" or "curator" controlling our access to the World-Wide-Web? What do we pay for our dependency upon it and other search engines whose designs are even more commercially motivated? 

If you are strongly interested in digital journalism, you should compare Massing's 2015 research and evaluation with his earlier, 2009 article on the subject, also published in The New York Review of Books: Michael Massing, "The News About the Internet," The New York Review of Books 56:13 (August 13, 2009).  This survey of blogs, news aggregators, and other digital media is based on the way the Internet looked six years ago. Much has changed.  Try looking for Massing's 2009 sources to see how many still exist today.  What does this attrition of sources mean to a culture based on the perhaps naive notion that certain kinds of "publications of record" (The Times of London, New York Times, even The New York Review of Books, itself!) would always be available as reliable and time-tested places to find commonly agreed-upon facts and opinion?

If you are interested in search engines, especially Google's hegemony over most users' search practices, visit and explore the following web pages: Google's Version of Its History and Google "Page-Rank" Search Algorithm..  If you are curious about Google's hardware, the "server farms" which hold and process your Web searches, Gmail, YouTube videos, etc., read Steven Levy, "Google Throws Open Doors to its Top-Secret Data Center," Wired, October 17, 2012, 7:30 AM.   The following links take you to search portals other than Google: DuckDuckGo; Ask.com; Yahoo.  How would you compare their search pages as visual displays, tools for finding specific information, entertainment devices, etc.?  If you are specifically interested in digital text archives, you can find further reading in these examples of Modern Literature Online Surrogate Sites.  (Current examples include Rossetti, Blake, and a German Emblem Book aggregation.  Please send me URLs for others as you find them!)

If you are especially interested in digital archives, etc., read more in Batelle's The Search (2005), located in the Library print collection:  John Battelle, The Search: The Inside Story of How Google and its Rivals Changed Everything. N.Y.: Portfolio, 2005, “The Database of Intentions,” “Who?, what?, where?, why?, when?, and how (much)?,” “Search before Google was born,” “Google.” 338.761 B335s 2005]  

Thursday 9/24:  Who is the Internet's "Librarian" or "Curator"?  Is it Google?  What happens when pages and sites change, or even disappear?  How do changes from print to digital text archives affect the design and operations of "bricks and mortar" sites like the Goucher Library? 

[NOTE: after class, roughly from 4:15-5:00, Tara Olivero will introduce us to the Special Collections of the Library.  Please make time for this.  Once you know how to use the Special Collections, you will be able to take advantage of them with greater confidence for the rest of the semester.  If for some important reason you cannot attend this session, please let me know and we will arrange a make-up session for you.]

Sunday, 9/27:  First written assignment due by noon in my Inbox as a MS-Word or Rich Text Format (.rtf) document attached to an email, or a URL in an email that directs me to some web-writing (using standard academic English and MLA format, of course).  Click here for possible topics and specific instructions.  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.


Week 5:  Print Text Construction: the Print Shop, Type Fonts, and Paper   

Tuesday 9/29:  How are hand-press books printed and bound?  How do bibliographers describe hand-press books, what kinds of books were first printed, and how did they make the type fonts with which the books were printed?

Vocabulary for describing type fonts and pieces of metal type Quick Guide to Arcane "Desbib" Vocabulary and Format Detection and full Descriptive Bibliography Methods and TermsAtlas of Early Printing (University of Iowa) William Caxton's Press Output (1475-1491), England's First Printer (oddly, left out of the U. Iowa database!).

Thursday 10/1:  How should we analyze the papers from which early printed books were made, and what kinds of evidence do they reveal?  The Paper Museum--samples of paper from many nations and for many uses.  Get ready to challenge your assumptions about what "paper" is and can be.

The "Bologna Stone" and standard hand-press-era paper sizes.  For more information on and illustrations of watermarks, see the English language index of Watermarks.info.   Digital "watermark" example.  1687/1689 Chaucer Edition Issue Images  Uncut Quarto Edition Sheets from Bindery Waste

    Illustrations of the making of  handmade, "laid paper":

         If you are particularly interested in paper, for a quick introduction to the early history of papermaking in Europe, from which most English books were made, read Tim Barrett, et al., Paper Through Time: Nondestructive Analysis fo 14th- through 19th-Century Papers (University of Iowa and the Getty Museum).  For some papermaking practices peculiar to the English market for "broadsides" (single folio sheets on which ballads and "news" were sold), read Gerald Egan and Eric Nebeker's "Other Common Papers: Papermaking and Ballad Sheet Sizes," English Broadside Ballad Archive (University of California, Santa Barbara).  Also see the HQ Papermaker history of paper page.  This is a major area of research and relates directly to "conservation," the art of preserving old books and manuscripts.  Contact Melissa Straw, Goucher's Director of Conservation and Preservation.   Click here to read Brian Palmer's Slate.com article, "Green Your Notes! Is taking notes on a notepad or an iPad more environmentally responsible?," September 6, 2011.

Saturday, 10/3:  James Work Garrett Library Tour:  Please meet at the lower entrance of the Athenaeum promptly at 1:30 for our departure by car for Evergreen Mansion (4545 N. Charles Street, between Loyola and the College of Notre Dame, both of which were built on the former grounds of the Garrett estate).  The first hour will be a tour of the Evergreen Mansion, a major "Downton Abbey"-scale Big House, and its associated art collections (Impressionist paintings, a private theater, Japanese netsuke, etc.).  The house tour will conclude with the last two of its three libraries (Juvenalia, Diplomatica,and Rare Books and MSS).  We will examine some of the incunabula and later early printed books from the collection.  We should be back on campus by 4:30.  Our drivers can accomodate the class with room to spare, but if you need to return before 4:30, you may want to drive yourself or arrange other transportation.


Week 6:  Print Texts: Construction as Evidence of History 

A month from now you will need to read Emma Thoyts' The Key to the Family Deed Chest (London: 1893), also available under the title How to Decipher and Study Old Documents.  Print-on-demand copies can be ordered for under $10 from the Goucher College Bookstore today and would be available well before the assignment.  An online digital surrogate of the book is also available from the Internet Archive (see the Thursday Week 10 assignment), but you will find reading and note taking much easier with a print copy.

Tuesday 10/6: What did print do to the way we read, and how did circulation of print documents leave evidence of their use by readers?  How did manuscript punctuation conventions change when printers marked up MS copy for editions? 

Also, think about the significance of the data in this spreadsheet and two tables that summarize printed book production by country and by language in the first century of print--the first era in which a mass audience of readers could enter the "imaginary worlds" produced by printers:  the lifetime press output of William Caxton, England's first printer;  Incunable Production in the Fifteenth Century (Sanders ex-Rudolph Hirsch and George Painter). 

Additional Web page for today--talking points from Duguid and Brown, Eisenstein, and Thomas.  Web link from Thomas re: standardization of punctuation.  Typography Description Class Segment

 Thursday 10/8: When we hold a book in our hands, what are we really holding and how might it relate to other versions of itself? 

Week 7:  Print Text Archival Research Methods-the Edition, and the Book, and the Library  / Start Hand-Press Book Leaf Lab

Tuesday 10/13: When we hold a book in our hands, what are we really holding and how might it relate to other versions of itself? 

Click here for a diagram showing the Textual History of Malory's Morte Darthur  Malory's Life vs. Caxton's Life  "Explicits" in the Winchester Malory MS.   For comparison of the Winchester Malory MS with two other famous medieval manuscripts: Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Huntington Library, San Marino, CA); Hengwyrt Manuscript of Canterbury tales, the oldest surviving version (MS Peniarth 392D, National Library of Wales).  Both MSS were copied by the same scribe, Adam Pinkhurst, but they look rather different from one another, and from the Winchester Malory.  What factors might contribute to the layout and scribal copying of a manuscript of several hundred leaves, i.e., one that could not be thought to be undertaken on the spur of the moment by an individual acting on her/his own?

[If you are specifically interested in working in the publishing business, read W&A Chapter 6, "Editorial Procedures" (90-126).  They give a good brief introduction to what editors do to manuscript or typescript texts to ready them for publication.  It's invaluable work.  Most authors have too much on their minds to be bothered with textual edition and publication.]

Thursday 10/15: How were the earliest libraries constructed, and how did the advent of print and serious book collecting reshape libraries?  Then we start the Hand-Press Book Leaf Lab!

Spend a little while exploring the Library of Congress Classification System and the Dewey Decimal Classification System, both of which are now in use in the Julia Rogers Library.  To see Thomas Jefferson's library's organizational plan, see "A Blueprint of Jefferson's Mind" (Library of Congress) or, better yet, visit the reconstuction of that library at the LoC, itself.  Some other manuscript and print libraries (ex-Maureen Price's blog entry, "Limitless Libraries," 6/13/2010).  Available at: http://notesonavisuallife.blogspot.com/  Forbidden Planet (1956): the great machine of the Krell.

In-Class Lab: The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory--introduction.   See this page for some Introductory tips.  Each of you will be assigned one of the laboratory book leaves.  For each leaf, we want to know: what is it?; how should we describe it?; and how do our pages relate to one another?  (Refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.)  Bring the results of your research to next week's first class.   When you are not in Special Collections, you still can work with your book leaf's digital images to extract as much information as they can reveal, and plan what you will try to learn from the leaves, themselves, when you have hands-on access to them.  Remember to share what you learn with your colleagues by posting your findings on the Hand-Press Book Leaf Lab Forum of the  "Archeology of Text" GoucherLearn course. 

6:30-7:30 (Kelly) Public lecture on early modern books and bibliography by Michael Suarez, S.J., Director of the Rare Book School, University of Virginia.  Please make plans to attend this event to help us think about the culture and technology which produced the hand-press book whose leaves we are studying in our lab.


[Fall Break--No Classes, Saturday October 17 to Monday October 19]


Week 8:  Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory

Tuesday 10/20:  The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory:  Gathering evidence of our individual leaves and starting to share evidence with groups working on other leaves.  Read GL postings by other students to begin putting your leaf's contents in context.  How would you begin to identify the text, author, printer, and edition of the book which originally contained your leaf?  Click here for some tips.

Thursday 10/22: The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory:  Putting All the Evidence Together. Questions about the edition from which the leaves came: What do we know?  What don't we know?   How do your pages relate to one another?  How do they relate to other copies of this edition, and to other editions of this text, in the libraries of the world?  Library Home Page link to WorldCat.Com  English Short Title Catalog (SSTC)  ABEBooks.com   MeasuringWorth.com  Some Possibly Relevant Digital Images for the Hand Press Book Lab


Week 9:  Manuscript Texts--Handwriting, Paleography (old handwriting), Diplomatic Transcription and Document Edition

Tuesday, 10/27:  How is manuscript text created and what kinds of character shapes do manuscript readers and writers recognize?  Then we start the first manuscript lab!

Click here for a paragraph of some issues to consider as we cross the technological frontier from hand-press printed books to manuscript documents and books.  Click here to sample some standardized lessons teaching the Palmer Method of cursive handwriting, a standard K-12 instruction strategy in America until the late twentieth century.   Plumbago Mine graphite, Borrowdale, England  (Note the proximity of Borrowdale, the famous source of pencil "lead," to the birthplace and muse of one of England's greatest poets.)  Click here for two typical late medieval and Renaissance Chaucer portraits that show the poet holding a "penner." 

Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1, introduction.  Bring laptops to class if you have them.  As always, wash your hands before class and don't bring food or drink to this one.  After class, spend some time with the digital image of the digital images of the recto and verso of the leaf assigned to you and your partner.  You should be able to read it within ten minutes, especially if you read with your partner and use the largest image (click on the first one).  Transcribe it as you figure it out, and post updated versions of your transcription to GoucherLearn, taking time to read other groups' transcriptions as they come in.  When you have deciphered some of the text, can you determine what it is and (in some sense) "who wrote it"?  If you are interested, this manuscript also can be part of your independent research project or the third writing assignment. 

Thursday, 10/29:  Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1.  What do we know?  What don't we know?   Keeping in mind what Williams and Abbott told us in "A Text and its Embodiments," we will discuss the document as a source of evidence which hand-written documents contain that most printed documents do not.  What version of the text are we reading, who might have made the document, who did not make the document, and what was it used for?  How should such a document be described so that other scholars would recognize it?  Our goal is to describe it, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms of what we mean when we use the term "Author."  What kind of "author" wrote that MS? 

Saturday 10/31: Second written assignment on the hand-press book lab is due by noon in my Inbox as a MS-Word or Rich Text Format (.rtf) document attached to an email.  Click here for specific instructions.  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.

Week 10:  Parchment Manuscripts and Early Manuscript "Hands" and Documents--Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1a

Tuesday 11/3:  Parchment Museum--

Thursday 11/5:  Manuscript Lab, Part 1a. 

Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1a.    This parchment manuscript is written in a much older script than the document used for Manuscript Laboratory Part 1.  Review some of the available online and print resources for the study of English "indentures," scribal documents produced for a variety of legal functions between medieval and modern times.   For basic paleography, explore English Handwriting 1500-1700:  Andrew Zurcher's site is often recommended as the best online teach-yourself program to learn to decipher Early Modern manuscript hands.  Early Modern hands tend to be tougher than Medieval hands because it became fashionable to personalize your script, and the proliferation of literacy led to variants in the construction of letter forms, so there were many ways to represent all the letters of the alphabet.  Each writer used her/his own, so once you learn your author's hand, you can read it reliably, but until you become familiar with the typical variants, it can seem pretty hard.  As always, practice makes good, if not perfect.  Click here for Arnie's suggested "multi-window" strategy for using Zurcher's tools and exemplary texts to teach your eye to read Early Modern English hands.   We will work together to examine this document.  What are its parts and what is it intended to do?  Who is mentioned in it and when and where did they live?  Can we discover more about them?  As in our previous laboratories, our goal is to describe the document, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms of what we mean when we use the term "Author."  What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  Especially because you will find more than one hand in the same manuscript, you will have differing answers for different hands, much like when teachers write comments in the margins of your papers.


Week 11: Early Modern Manuscript Documents--Manuscript Book Laboratory 2

Tuesday 11/10:  Manuscript Laboratory, Part 2  You will study one of six parchment manuscripts in teams of two and three.  These are older examples of the same type of document that we studied in MS Lab 1a, so its parts and function should be very similar, but the scribal hands are more difficult.  But first, make sure you record the most basic information about your document, as you should for any book or manuscript you are studying: Indenture MS Reading Lab Basics  Then, use Zurcher's "hand alphabets" to help you decipher it.  Click here for Arnie's suggested "multi-window" strategy for using Zurcher's tools and exemplary texts to teach your eye to read Early Modern English hands.    As before, our goal is to describe it, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms its means of production and the people/places/things it served. What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  Who and what is named in it, and why was it written?  Especially because you will find more than one hand in the same manuscript, you will have differing answers for different hands, much like when teachers write comments in the margins of your papers.

Thursday 11/12: Manuscript Laboratory, Part 2  What do we know and what don't we know?  Sharing our final conclusions about the documents in MS Lab 2.  For a recent news item about a similar document's current legal force, see David De Jong, "Yale to Be Paid Interest on Dutch Water Authority Bond of 1648," Bloomberg.com, 16 September 2015.


Week 12: Medieval manuscript books and scribal hands--MS Lab 3

Tuesday 11/17: Topic 1--How do medieval manuscript books relate to early printed books, and how were manuscript books made? 

Drogin Aids: Scribal Manuscript Book Production  Illuminated MS leaves for descriptive vocabulary practice

Topic 2--How were medieval manuscript books stored, organized, retrieved for use, and protected from destruction  

If you are specifically interested in medieval manuscripts, their preservation and destruction, click here for more online links.

Thursday 11/19:  Manuscript Lab 3--What techniques and vocabulary do scholars have for analyzing Medieval scripts?  How did Medieval scribes abbreviate and punctuate?  How did scribes form the major scripts you are likely to encounter (Carolingian miniscule [C8 to mid-C12, 1150]; early gothic [C11-12]; gothic textura quadrata [C13-15]; and gothic littera bastarda [C13 to Early Modern period, ca. 1500]? 

Click on the "Manuscript Lab 3" hyperlink for for instructions and for hyperlinks to preview digital images of the actual manuscript fragments we will be analyzing.  Click here for some background context on this lab.

Saturday, 11/21, or sooner, Third written assignment is due in my inbox by noon reflecting upon and analyzing the first or second manuscript book lab, your experiences as you worked with it, and the text's relationship to its origins and to our era.  Click here for specific instructions.  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.


 Week 14: Individual Research Projects

Tuesday 11/24: Introduction to Individual Research Projects in Special Collections: James W. Bright Collection, Alberta Burke Collection, Oberdorfer Twain Collection, etc.  Plan and research individual projects on manuscript, print, or digital texts and archives.  Studies of volumes from the James Wilson Bright Collection are encouraged, of course, but students should pursue their intellectual curiosities.  Research will be independent, but I am happy to help in any way I can, and please remember the valuable expertise on hand from the Library staff.  Tara Olivero knows the collection extremely well.  Melissa Straw is an expert in analysis of the material construction of documents.  Nancy Magnuson is an experienced researcher familiar with neighboring rare book collections' holdings that might be helpful to you.

        After the introductory session, we will run the class as a workshop in the main SCA reading room.  Claim some space at one of the tables and work with Tara, me, and the course teaching assistant to set up the materials you need to work with.  Imaging your primary source(s) would enable you to continue working during Thanksgiving Vacation when time and turkey-hangover permit.  Using those images, you also can astonish friends and family with the neat stuff you are discovering.  When each of the workshop classes is over, make sure you leave your work site neat, taking special care to relocate any Rare Book Collection or English 241 rare materials on the proper book trucks until the next workshop.  [If your Thanksgiving travel plans force you to miss this class, be sure to schedule a meeting with me to discuss your project before you leave and to get started working with your primary source materials from Special Collections and Archives.  I can meet with you on Friday, 11/20, Monday, 11/23, or on the morning of Tuesday 11/24.]

Wednesday 11/25 through Sunday 11/29--THANKSGIVING VACATION. 


Week 14: Individual Research Projects

Tuesday 12/1:   Individual Research Projects in Special Collections--work on your research, bring us problems to solve, help others solve problems.

Thursday 12/3: Individual Research Projects in Special Collections--work on your research, bring us problems to solve, help others solve problems.

Friday, December 4, 2013, at 1:30, assemble at the Athenaeum's lower entrance and leave by car for the Walters Art Museum Rare Book and Manuscript Collection for a tour of the Reading Room.  (Refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.)  We should be ready to leave the Walters by 4:30 or 5:00, but if you need to leave sooner, you may want to drive yourself or arrange other transportation.  Natalie, Tracy, and Jake, please confirm that you can drive and I will reimburse you for gas.


Week 15: Independent Research Projects

Tuesday 12/8: Independent Research Project Preliminary ReportsClick here for the presentation schedule.  Very briefly, show us some highlights of what you have found about the subject of your research so far.  Be sure to make available, either online or in a printed handout, a bibliographic description of the subject text and a bibliography of works you consulted while working on it.  Because we have a large class and only one day to discuss these projects, everyone will have to be well-prepared and ready to limit their initial presentation to five to seven minutes.  A completed written version of the report will be due the Monday after the last week of classes.  The deadline is, as always, negotiable, but my grades have to be delivered to the Registrar by the 30th.  

Thursday 12/10:  LAST CLASS--Independent Research Project Preliminary ReportsClick here for the presentation schedule.  Very briefly, show us some highlights of what you have found about the subject of your research so far.  Be sure to make available, either online or in a printed handout, a bibliographic description of the subject text and a bibliography of works you consulted while working on it.  Because we have a large class and only one day to discuss these projects, everyone will have to be well-prepared and ready to limit their initial presentation to five to seven minutes.  A completed written version of the report will be due the Monday after the last week of classes.  The deadline is, as always, negotiable, but my grades have to be delivered to the Registrar by the 30th.   If you have time, read "The Jewel Game", an excerpt from Rudyard Kipling's Kim.  It seems to be about what we are trying to learn to do.  The Cadaver Book Descriptive Bibliography is due today, but you can have until Monday if you need the time.


The Monday of Exam Week: Written version of Independent Research Project Report is due by 12:00 Noon (either as MS-Word or web page or other format--please negotiate to insure that I can access and read it!).  This due date is negotiable as long as you are not a senior graduating in December.