Rare Book School

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H-40. The Printed Book in the West since 1800

Eric Holzenberg

This course will survey the technological advances in papermaking, illustration processes, composition, printing, binding, and distribution which fueled the development of the modern book industry. It will also give an overview of those phenomena – William Morris and the modern fine press movement, artists' books, the rise of book-clubs and organized bibliophily – which have arisen to balance this industrialization. The classes will make extensive use of RBS's strong collections of books and periodicals embodying the advance of printing in the West since 1800, as well as the plates, tools and other artifacts that enabled that advance. This course concludes the RBS sequence of history of the book courses beginning with The Book in the Manuscript (H-20) and continuing with The Printed Book in the West to 1800 (H-30).

The course is intended for those with a strong native interest, but little formal study, in the art and history of the modern book. In their personal statement, applicants should describe the nature of their developing interest in the history of the book and (if relevant) explain briefly the causes of this interest and the purposes to which they propose to put the knowledge gained from the course.

Course Resources

Course History


Eric Holzenberg has taught this course at least once annually since 2002.