Simon Eliot

H-45: Printing, Publishing, and Consuming Texts in Britain, 1770-1919

24-28 July 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Delightful and fun. Very useful in appreciating the instructor’s comments in class. 2: Highly useful. Excellent selection, especially of the novels. 3: Pre-course readings were invaluable. 4: Very useful. 5: The readings were quite relevant, perhaps. There were so many that the list might be trimmed. 6: The readings, especially the fiction, were integral to the experience of the course. 7: Very useful as background; novels were vital. 8: The list was helpful, and mostly fun to read. It didn’t occur to me to read them in the order published, which might have been more helpful in mapping the developments. (My own fault.) 9: The were wonderful, although I would have preferred Dracula to the didactic, polemical New Grub Street. 10: Pre-course readings were essential to the class. Reading list and suggested readings were integral to the success of the class. 11: Useful. 12: Necessary to read the novels as they were stressed each day. Other books were helpful to browse at least.


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: They will be helpful to help me remember later points made in class. 2: Yes. The syllabus is sufficiently substantial. I want to read material I didn’t get to in advance. 3: Every resource given to us was and will continue to be useful. 4: Appropriate and useful. 5: Very useful. 6: Yes, especially the handouts dealing with the speed of technological change. 7: Yes. Would also have liked copies of all transparencies, if possible. 8: Yes, it helped us keep on track. 9: Yes. 10: Yes, excellent materials will be used in my research and in the classroom. 11: Yes, appropriate and useful. 12: Syllabus useful, but a bibliography/exit reading list would be valuable.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: The forms books took (the three decker, the railway novel) were the most useful aspects in relation to my work. Yes, it was appropriate. 2: Intellectual level was entirely appropriate. Provided great insight into the interpretation of text in the context of social, economic and cultural factors. It makes book history come alive. Enormously enhances the reading experience. 3: The entire course was relevant to my specific topic of interest as well as my teaching. Level was appropriate. 4: Intellectual level was appropriate. SE continually stressed the connections between publishing, etc history and the larger social and technological developments occurring throughout the period. 5: It was all very relevant, and the level was quite appropriate. 6: The history and experience of reading were most relevant; also the stress on context. 7: Particularly 1850-1880, but entire course interlaced beautifully. 8: Considering the context of work from the long 19th century was extremely helpful, not just social historical overviews, but technological and economic histories will have great impact on how I read and work from this time period in the future. 9: It was wonderful to get a true feel for the 19th century in Britain, not just facts and figures but evocative descriptions of what you would have seen and heard had you been alive at the time. 10: The intellectual level was rigorous, engaging, and satisfying. 11: Yes. 12: Social and cultural history coupled with book history. Intellectual level was very high.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

1: Yes. The examples of three-decker novels and parts of Dickens novels in SC and the demonstration of Linotype and Monotype were worth the time. 2: Very well spent. 3: Yes; both trips away from the classroom were useful and time well spent. 4-5: Yes. 6: Yes, it was useful to see examples of three deckers, serials in parts, yellowbacks, and so on. 7: Time at UVa in other locations was very well spent; I am glad we did not take the time to travel away from Charlottesville. 8: Yes. 9: N/A except to SC once and to the Book Arts Press once. Both well worth it. 10: Absolutely. Any time spent in front of TB is time well spent. 12: N/A.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: The lectures by SE, especially his readings from the novels and the delightful digressions about other authors of the period. 2: SE is a delightful instructor. Superb course. 3: The reading list and SE’s immense and impressive knowledge and abilities. 4: The teacher was very knowledgeable, fluent, and encouraging and consistently interesting. It was easy to spend an entire day being lectured to. 5: The preparations, intellectual content, were, I think, very high. The instructor was especially well read and experienced to cover the subject matter. 6: SE’s vast knowledge of the subject. 7: The instructor. SE was passionate, witty, and incredibly knowledgeable. 8: SE reading aloud. 9: SE himself, but also the course organization, which I thought was brilliant. 10: SE’s intelligence, preparedness, humor, and ability to articulate with authority on the disciplines that make up book history. 11: I admire SE’s detailed knowledge of so many aspects of the period and his constant effort to bring them together coherently and illuminatingly. 12: SE’s vast knowledge of both book history and 19th century history.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: Can’t imagine. Perhaps more time to look at examples. 2: No suggestions. 3: I really can’t imagine that it can be. 5: Perhaps a small requirement of the student to participate by reporting and a short reading or something to involve the student slightly. 6: We covered a lot of ground and did not really miss anything. The topic is huge, however, many would probably still want another week of lecture. 7: Having suggested a particular edition of the novels and stressing that they should be brought to class. 9: Can’t think of any way. 10: Impossible to improve. 11: Perhaps a fuller bibliography would have filled out the syllabus, so that we would have recommended readings that pursue particular topics in fuller detail. 12: More time.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: Class members and faculty were very responsible and careful. Nobody was an obnoxious cop, which was a nice change. 2: No suggestions. Handling was appropriate. 3: None. All were well and carefully handled. 6: Although pencils were abundant and visible, many class members used pens close to rare materials. 7: No problems. 8: N/A. 9: No suggestions. 10: None.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Didn’t attend. 2: Yes. They were worthwhile. TB always does a nice job on Sunday. 3: Both lectures allowed me to meet others who were not later in my particular course. It was nice to talk and mingle afterwards. 4-6: Yes. 7: Christian Dupont’s words were very appropriate and interesting. 8: N/A. 9: Yes. 10: Yes, both. 12: Yes, both interesting.

9) If you attended evening activities, was the time profitably spent?

1: The printing demonstration was excellent. The choice of films was varied and worthwhile. 2: Did not attend. 3: N/A. 5: Video Night was quite profitable. 6: Yes, especially the paper museum. 8: N/A. 9: I attended the paper museum, thought it fascinating. 10: Yes, always: particularly the paper museum. My third time and I continue to learn at each visit. 12: Museums were very good, as was printing demonstration.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Yes. Anyone who works with books from the 1800's and early 1900's would benefit from the course. 2: Absolutely. 3: It was absolutely worth the money! Advice: be sure to read before you come to class. Be prepared to take lots of notes because you’ll want to remember everything SE discusses. 4: Yes, indeed. Bring the novels with you, if possible. Allow some time to go over and organize your notes between classes. 5: I was very pleased with the course. I learned a great deal. SE is a very good choice to teach the course. 6: Well worth the money. 7: A wonderful week that, although intense, flew by, providing a memorable and useful overview of the period covered. Thank you! 8: Yes. 9: Yes, yes. A great course. 10-11: Yes. 12: Yes, highly recommended course.

Number of respondents: 12


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

67%                            67%                            67%                            67%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

17%                            33%                            33%                            33%

N/A: self-                   N/A: Self-                   N/A: stayed                N/A: lived

employed, re-             employed,                  with friends               nearby

tired, or had              retired, or                  or lived at

summers off              scholarship                home

17%                            0%                              0%                              0%

There were four rare book librarians (33%), three teacher/professors (25%), one archivist/manuscript librarians (8%), one general librarian with some rare book duties (8%), one conservator (8%), one retired scholar (8%), and one judge (8%).