Martin Antonetti
No. 11: History of the Book in the West
14-18 July 1997

1. How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Very good (although I did not have time to finish all of them before I arrived. 2: Helpful for the course and later on. Necessary for a novice. 3: The pre-course readings were extremely helpful. Thanks to them, I didn't feel at all lost during the course and I was able to arrive with a number of questions that MA covered during the week. 4: Quite useful. 5: Very useful, particularly Carter's ABC for book collectors. 6: Very useful. It was a push to get them all done, but it gave me a nice start on the material. 7: Very. 8-10: Very useful. 11: All were useful, but Carter especially so. 12: Absolutely bang on. 13: I found the readings helpful. It seemed to put us all on the same playing field.

2. Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: Yes. The handouts are very useful and I feel I will use them in the future ­ especially the reading list. 2: Helpful, varied, and well organized. 3-4: Yes 5: Yes, very useful and enlightening. 6: The syllabus material was useful. I'm especially excited about the exit bibliography. 7-10: Yes. 11: The syllabus was clear and useful. 12: Appropriate. I appreciate having the exit reading list. 13: Yes. The course packet contained a lot of useful information and charts.

3.Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?

1: I was really very pleased with the intellectual level. I am most interested in art history and I found the instructor very well informed. In addition, I appreciated his obvious wide reading in the field. He added many interesting anecdotes and stories. 2: Yes, and pleasurably so. 3: It was perfect. 4: Yes. 5: Yes, it's everything you might expect from an introductory survey course, and it provides numerous leads to further study. 6: Yes, a diverse group of people with varied approaches to books, and so class members were able to examine issues and objects to the degree they chose. 7-9: Yes. 10: Very. 11: Perfect in level and pace. 12: Yes. 13: Yes. MA's explanations are very clear and concise.

4. If your course had field trips, were they effective?

1: Very well spent. I enjoyed the visits to the Rare Book Collection most of all. I was able to see for the first time many beautiful books that I had only read about before. What a difference it is to see them in person close up! 2: Very well spent, but not enough time in Special Collections. I would have liked an introductory tour if there had been time. 3: Perfect. 4: Absolutely! 5: Very useful. I think it's extremely important to look at the books as physical objects in a course of this kind. 6: Extremely well spent. I would like to double my time in Special Collections. 7: Extremely so. 8: Yes. 9: Very much so. 10: Very. 11: Visits of Special Collections were highlights ­ fun as well as fascinating. 12: Absolutely. 13: Yes. Special Collections was a real treat.

5. Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description (ECD)? Did the course in general meet your expectations?

1: Most definitely. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. I would recommend it to anyone seeking to learn more about this subject. The instructor was also able to instruct students with varying backgrounds and knowledge. 2: Both were to my great satisfaction. 3: Completely. 4: It exceeded my expectations. 5: Yes, in fact I think the course surpassed my expectations. 6: I had expected more history (there was a good deal) and got more method. That, in the end, was a good thing ­ dates and names can be picked up from the exit material. 7: Yes. 8: Yes ­ exceeded expectations. 9: Yes. 10: Content corresponded to the descriptions; the course exceeded my expectations. 11: Yes. Yes. 12: Yes. 13: The course met and exceeded my expectations. I didn't remember that we would be covering some of the physical parts of books (like binding and typography).

6. What did you like best about the course?

1: Hands-on examples of various types, bindings, illustration techniques. Also very useful was printing from the hand press and our little research project on a book. 2: The exposure to a wide range of new information and ideas and the physical resources used in teaching. Good videos emphasized points. 3: I liked its mixture of learning things, seeing books (in museums, in class), and humor. Most of all, I liked MA's enthusiasm for books and humor. 4: Handling texts in Special Collections; learning about the importance of bibliographical studies to literary research; historical information. 5: The variety of activities for dealing with the subject matter. 6: Special Collections ­ examination of books with the instructor and classmates. 7: Completeness of its overview of the book. 8: Special Collections visits. 9: Seeing the actual rare books and discussion. 10: The instructor (very intelligent, well-read, experienced, articulate, organized, but not pompous) who loves the subject. 11: The instructor was clear and witty. 12: Instructor's level of knowledge and presentation style. 13: Special Collections. And our instructor's good humor and passion for his subject.

7. How could the course have been improved?

1: I didn't care for the rigidity of the breaks, and I am glad MA fudged a little where it seemed to make sense. 2: More time! 4: I can't think of any improvements that might be needed. 6: Perhaps less time spent on related, but somewhat ancillary topics, i.e., papermaking. 7: N/A. 8: Having a smaller group in Special Collections at one time (7-8 maximum). Eliminating the music from your videos. 9: It was perfect! 10: Extend it to two weeks. 11: Fewer videos ­ some were cheesy and unhelpful. 13: Not sure.

8. Please comment on the quality/enjoyability of the various RBS activities in which you took part outside of class, eg Sunday afternoon tour, Sunday night dinner and videos, evening lectures, Bookseller Night, tour of the Alderman digital/electronic centers, printing demonstrations, &c.

1: I enjoyed the Bookseller Night. The lectures were a mixed bag. I appreciated learning the history of RBS, but the detail was too great. I enjoyed Peter Stallybrass' lecture the most. 2: All were high in quality. There was one overlap between a Sunday night and a classroom video. 4: The lecture by PS was first rate. All of the activities were well organized and very enjoyable. 5: All were very useful and enlightening. 6: The lectures were very good. Breaks (chances to meet cohorts) were the best outside activity. 7: Did not participate due to local family commitments. 8: Very worthwhile. 9: I did not see Alderman's electronic center. Enjoyed all but some of the evening lectures. I believe that lectures can be informative as well as entertaining and two were not entertaining or interesting. 10: Excellent. 11: Another, more spacious location for Sunday night dinner would be better. All evening lectures were first-rate. 12: The Sunday tour was not useful since I had already had a chance to look around during the day. It would have been useful in order to orient oneself if this had not already been done. 13: The printing demonstration was great. I was unable to attend the evening lectures.

9. Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?

1: I would like to see more people taking this course so they recognize the importance of books as aesthetic and cultural artifacts not able to be replaced by the Internet! 2: For a novice collector or student, this course seems essential and is not available in many areas. I would have liked it closer to home. Its relevance is vastly underestimated in a fashionably technological climate. 4: This was a superb course. I'd give it the highest possible rating. It's definitely worth the money. 5: Decidedly, yes ­ extremely worthwhile. 6: Yes, indeed. 7: It is remarkable that the course participants were so evenly matched. No one person was either more or less knowledgeable than another. The overview was precisely what I sought ­ from my viewpoint, worth twice the actual cost. 8: Yes, I got my money's worth. 9: Yes, I did get my money's worth! 10: Yes, I got my money's worth. Everyone should be able to take the course. Perhaps do a video of the whole course, taught by MA. 12: Great! 13: I would recommend MA's course to anyone interested in books. He really made it fascinating. It was a joy to watch him exude enthusiasm during the week.

Number of respondents: 13


Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution gave me leave Institution paid tuition Institution paid housing Institution paid travel
47% 45% 38% 31%
I took vacation time I paid tuition myself I paid for my own housing I paid my own travel
44% 49% 47% 47%
N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off N/A: self-employed, retired, or exchange N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home N/A: lived nearby
22% 7% 15% 23%

There were 13 students: two general librarians with some rare book duties (15%), two full-time students (15%), and one each an antiquarian bookseller, a general librarian with no rare book duties, a library administrator, a museum worker in work not directly related to a library, a federal employee in a non-related field, a physician, a rare book librarian, a retiree, and a teacher/professor (7% each).