Martin Antonetti

51: H-30, The Printed Book in the West to 1800

18-22 July 2011


1)    How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)

1: Extremely helpful because they forced me to try and visualize the processes that were later demonstrated and/or explained in greater detail. Also, the readings provided me with a new vocabulary. 2: Very—good references. 3: Very useful. The reading list provided will also be very useful. 4: Helpful. Chappell more helpful than ABC for Book Collectors, which works better as a reference afterwards. The additional suggestions will make more sense to me now than they did before. 5: Very. 6: Moderately useful. 7: Very useful—especially if you do not have a thorough background in the subject. 8: Pre-course readings were very useful since the class was quick and intensive. 9: Somewhat. 10: Fine. 11: The ABC for Book Collectors was tedious after 80 pages or so, and though it included useful information, that was swaddled in sheaves of information much less relevant to the actual course content. 12: Useful, although most information was recapped in class.

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

1: Yes, the materials were and will continue to be useful as records of the course content as I continue to try and memorize or make second nature the large amount of information I am still swimming through. 2: Yes, I will review and do further research into names and books referenced. 3: Yes, along with photographs to be acquired later from MA—they will be useful as examples to compare other books. 4: Yes. Workbook gave important names and dates with spaces for adding notes. PowerPoint printout useful, some shots more than others. Both will be a way to review the course or go back to information only partially remembered. 5: The handouts were very helpful. 6: Yes. 7: All materials provided in class have served me well through the week and I look forward to using it in the future. 8: Workbook was useful to reference during class. I would also suggest adding a list of items viewed in Special Collections. 9: Yes. Bibliography will be particularly useful. 10: Yes. 11: Yes, and yes. 12: Yes, and saved too much note-taking.

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: There were many aspects of interest, perhaps most importantly a new way of looking at books, the book world, and its early history. The intellectual level had just the right amount of challenge. 2: Yes, the level was appropriate and I liked the slides, demos, and examples at SC. In-depth study on Arrighi was fascinating. 3: Greatest interests were book production outside of binding (or in addition to binding) that I will use in surveys, treatment of reports (evaluation for treatment reports), and descriptions of books for catalogs. 4: Information on development of letterforms was very interesting. Binding demonstration very helpful. Course helped me understand engraving, woodcuts, typefounding—things I never could exactly figure out from written descriptions. Information on leathers was totally new and helpful. Intellectual level perfectly appropriate. Even covering basics, the instructor always managed to add things I hadn't known. 5: I particularly was interested in seeing in person examples of different text/hand and machine illustration examples, and binding examples. Yes. 6: The identification of type fonts and history of typography to 1800 was the most important to me. 7: As I was approaching this class with a desire to gain a broad, general knowledge of the topic, I found all aspects to be relevant and interesting. In answer to the second question, yes. 8: Yes, intellectual level was appropriate. Greatest interest to me was learning how to talk about a book. More emphasis on vocabulary may have helped me, but I could also reference Carter. 9: Binding material, printing styles, illustration techniques, history of collecting. 10: Opportunity to ask questions of an authority. History of times in relation to literacy fascinating. 11: Acquaintance with important figures and developments. Yes. 12: Of greatest relevance was the discussion of printing methods and the mechanics of book production, especially the demonstrations of printing and binding. The material on typography was also relevant and fascinating. The level was just right.

4)    What did you like best about the course?

1: Being in the rare book collections to look at rare books every day was very special. The case study presented on a specific printer, Arrighi, was like reading the book about the authentication of the Carvaggio found in Ireland. 2: Difficult to choose—SC visit? Printing and sewing demos? 3: The instructor's knowledge is very broad and his enthusiasm for his subject impressive. He took us through his process of investigation on a particular subject (Arrighi) of his research. I found the subject and the insight into the process of investigation very interesting and helpful. 4: The wonderful variety and depth of knowledge the instructor presented and how well he presented it. His enthusiasm kept us interested and involved. Everything was orderly and presented in context so it was understandable. 5: Seeing in person examples of rare books. Items I never have access to. 6: Examples of books, binding, types were useful, but occasionally derailed the progress of the planned presentation. 7: The instructor—MA! 8: Special Collections time and the ability to ask questions and talk with others about books being viewed. 9: Much knowledge I did not have before was imparted. 10: Good, overview with some in-depth. I never felt overwhelmed. Loved the hands-on/eyes-on with the Special Collections. It was the high point of my day. 11: The practical skills and information from demos and Special Collections time. 12: Unquestionably, the balance of theoretical learning and getting to see, handle and compare the books themselves and equipment like the press. A highlight was the binding demonstration and the visits to Special Collections.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?

1: The instructor was very generous with his time and expertise. 2: Yes, he was informative, interesting, knowledgeable, kind (listened and answered questions as if important part of discussion) and humorous. 3: Yes. 4: He was great at this. Because it was so well organized, you were building up knowledge in a way that made sense. He was great at answering questions and challenging us to come to conclusions about what we saw. 5: Yes. 6: I was disappointed by the variable scope and altitude of the presentation. I feel I have less than what I could have had in area knowledge without digressions. 7: Yes. 8: Yes. MA is very enthusiastic and passionate. You can tell he loves talking about books and his love of books is contagious. He makes the students really see the book. 10: Yes—very good at making sure you felt you understood his point. Would repeat things for emphasis. 11: Yes. 12: Yes, and the list of further reading should help—there was a lot to take in.

6)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/ N

1-5: Yes. 6: No. 7-11: Yes. 12: Yes, although I would have liked more focus upon printed books rather than manuscripts. Time constraints meant that we did miss some details but covered all the basics.

7)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N


1: Yes, but I now realize how much, much more there is to learn. 2-3: Yes. 4: Yes. I learned much more than I dreamed I would! 5: Yes. 6: No. I feel that the presentations varied in depth and detail considerably, leaving me with less than satisfactory overall understanding of the history of the printed book to 1800. 7-8: Yes. 9: Yes. Setting the context of the development of books into trends in politics and particularly architecture was quite useful. 10-12: Yes.

8)    How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: The information presented has pointed the way to certain questions that I would like to research and a topic I would like to learn more about in another workshop. 2: I will use it in further personal research about the history of the book and in my work in teaching with our collections. 3: See answer to question 13. In public programming as well as surveys and other collection work. 4: I will have a better understanding of whole process of early printing and manuscript production. Maybe I'll find a topic to pursue and get back into doing some research! 5: As I may not handle rare books, this has helped me to look at books I handle with a more discerning eye as books as objects and a piece of history. 6: Teaching classes and leading tours. 7: For now, personal application with the intention of exploring any future options in the future. 8: I intend to use this class as a basis for building more knowledge about bibliography and book history. It's a great class to make one want to learn more. 9: Improve my collecting knowledge. 10: Pass on rare book knowledge to others on staff. Do different rare book displays with new found knowledge. 11: To operate and converse more effectively at RBS, and to investigate areas for potential future resources! 12: Knowledge of the printed book as a physical object as well as book history will definitely broaden my graduate studies in literature. In general, I think I will enjoy reading and reading about most books more, having taken this course.

9)    How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.

1: More time to view the same topic from other perspectives—Northern European, Protestant ... 2: Not sure. 4: No suggestions. 6: More consistency in presentation and less digression regardless of its erudition. 7: No improvements. 8: More time? There is so much to be learned. 9: More time on other parts of Europe; more time on c18. 10: Perfect the way it was, but I would like to have crammed double the time in the Special Collections. 11: Timeliness was the only real issue I noted. But if no one wants to leave class, there could be worse problems. 12: No specific improvements to suggest.

10)    If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: Visits to SC were a treat and integral to the course. 2: Yes, it was wonderful to study each book in such detail—in some ways I would like to have done more but of course time is limited. 3: Yes 4: Yes, we always ran out of time, but only solution would be to add more days. 5-8-9: Yes. 10: Yes—would loved to have seen more books but understand the need to see fewer and see them more in depth. Wish I could take same class 2.0 the continuation. 11: Yes. George and Jeremy did a great job in Special Collections. 12: Yes—and great fun.

11)    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: The handling seemed very respectful. 2: It was all managed professionally and carefully. 3: Not too much handling, but we did. 4: Fine as it was. 6: The situation was excellent. 7: None. 8: MA handled materials very carefully and was a perfect role model. 9: Would prefer more handling of material during the presentations. 10: We all seemed to have great respect for the books! And the staff as well. 11: No. 12: No suggestions.

12)    If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1: All were interesting, some more than others. The Google talk was wonderfully provocative. 2: Yes. 3: Yes, even Booksellers' Night which I did not expect to attend. 4: Attended lecture and forum—both quite interesting and well worth it. 5: I do wish the two bookshops on Main Street had participated, as a group of us walked there just so I could see the shops. 6: Yes. 7: The specific topics covered during this week at RBS were not particularly interesting to me. 9: Yes. 10: Yes—went to them all. Good speakers. 12: Yes.

13)    Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?

1: Somehow, it never occurred to me to think of it in this way. Yes, I hope, if you will have me, to take another course. 2: Yes, every year I feel the courses add to my understanding and knowledge about books. 3: Yes—my institution would like me to do more public programming, so yes, this helped me very much to prepare me to talk more in depth about the physical aspects of book production. 4: For sure! 5: Yes, I do. 7: Yes. 8: I think so. 9: MA is enthusiastic, well informed and passionate about the material. 10: Spend the money, take the class! 11: Yes. 12: Yes, I think so.

14)    Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes. When I get home there is a great friend and neighbor that I cannot wait to tell about this course. He is Italian, a humanist, scientist, and Latin scholar. 2-3: Yes. 4: Certainly—most highly. 5: Yes. 6: No. 7: Definitely! 8: Yes, absolutely. 9-10: Yes. 11: I would. 12: Yes.

Number of respondents: 12





Institution gave me leave




I took vacation time




N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off




I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course






Institution paid tuition




Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself




Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship






Institution paid housing




Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing




N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home







Institution paid travel




Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel




N/A: lived nearby








There were 1 rare books librarian, 1 retired children's librarian, 1 secretary of a bibliographic society, 1 antiquarian bookseller, 1 archivist/manuscript librarian, 1 general librarian with some rare book duties, 1 full-time student working towards a Ph.D., 1 full-time student working towards an M.S., 1 full-time student working towards a B.A., 1 book collector, 1 other.


Where did you stay?


Brown College—1 (8%)

The Lawn—5 (42%)

Hampton Inn & Suites—1 (8%)

Other—5 (42%)