Wynken de Worde is always a pleasure to read, but two recent posts by its administrator, Sarah Werner, Program Director for Undergraduate Teaching at the Folger Shakespeare Library, will be of particular interest to those teaching book history. In these posts, Werner discusses her undergraduate research seminar, “Books and Early Modern Culture,” taught at George Washington University and the Folger, and even includes a syllabus. She writes of having reshaped the course this summer; it currently falls into three parts: books as physical objects; relationships between books and culture; and books as vehicles for texts.
She discusses her interest in incorporating more ephemeral work, like news sheets, in the course, and in her most recent post, she even provides a printable news sheet with numbered folds, together with clear instructions addressed to advanced undergraduates for how to understand the folds. This news sheet can be printed and distributed for use in class. Werner’s posts will be helpful both to those beginning their careers as teachers of book history and those who would like to refresh their approaches to teaching such a course. They also show the way for how blogs can serve as valuable archives for the most ephemeral of printed texts, the course syllabus.
Readers interested in discussing Werner’s posts should go directly to Wynken de Worde, where a valuable discussion is underway. But on this blog, we might discuss more generally how such blogs can enrich the teaching of book history. One thing that comes to mind is the ease with which manuscripts might be made available as pdfs, thereby facilitating a discussion of the interplay between printed and manuscript texts.