Course module - Beyond the Text: The Book and its Body
Code : ITAL30432 (IT3432) Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
Students who satisfactorily complete the course will be able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship between changing media and the material history of textual transmission from medieval manuscript to modern day hypertext;
- appreciate the key stages in the history of the book and the importance of dissemination media in conditioning the literary and cultural reception of Dante’s work.
Employability: see 'Transferable Skills'.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
- the ability to manage time and work to deadlines;
- the ability to undertake independent learning and reflect on one’s achievements;
- the ability to develop powers of analysis and use them to solve problems;
- the ability to participate in pair and team work;
- the ability to assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others;
- the ability to present information, ideas and arguments orally with due regard to the target audience;
- good literacy skills in English and Italian;
- an awareness of and responsiveness to the nature and extent of cultural diversity.
A 2000-word case study of an individual manuscript or edition (35%); c. 1000-word total contribution to group wiki on Blackboard 9 (25%), plus participation in group presentation on this topic; a 3000-word comparative essay (40%).
Deadline for assessed coursework
The case study is to be submitted on the Thursday of Week 7 and the essay by the Thursday of Week 12. The group presentations will begin in Week 8 and the group wiki work deadline is Friday of week 10 (29 Nov).
Nature and timing of feedback
Global oral feedback on group presentations will be given as soon as practicable and within two weeks at the latest, with written feedback on individual components within the same time period; written work will be returned with written comments by the tutor as soon as practicable and within three weeks at the latest (i.e. feedback on the case study by the end of Week 10). Global feedback on written work will be given in class and may also be posted on Blackboard, as necessary. The timetable will also incorporate workshops on the case study, writing for wikis, and essay writing, to include peer feedback mechanisms.
Pre-requisite: ITAL20200, ITAL20210 or equivalent competence for students of Italian. Students from outside Italian may also enrol on the course after discussion with the tutor and may read the prescribed texts in translation.
Pathway: MA in Italian Studies
This course unit will provide an introduction to the discipline of book history via a study of some of the forms of the seminal Italian book, Dante’s Divine Comedy. Rather than focusing on the authored text, however, we will investigate instead the material form of the book, through manuscript, print, and digital media. In this way, we can analyse both the relationship between the text and its material form and wider issues around the production, dissemination and reception of the book-object in various reading communities. The course will use, where appropriate, primary material held in the John Rylands Library, Deansgate (e.g., manuscripts, incunabula, early print books, etc.).
Monday 4-5pm; Wednesday 12-2pm
(Please note that the Wed time has changed from 11-1pm).
The course will include primary-source workshops in the John Rylands Library, the preparation of a collaborative online wiki, and group presentations. Learning will also involve electronic seminars using digitized resources where appropriate.
33 hours, comprising 3 x 1 hour weekly seminars. Two x 2-hour close-up sessions with primary source material (manuscripts and early printed books) in Deansgate will replace seminar hours in Weeks 3 and 5.
Other scheduled teaching and learning activities
Primary research support sessions with course convenor in Deansgate Special Collections Library.
Extensive resources will be available via Blackboard, including materials to aid students in preparing for classes and assessment as well as links to on-line resources.
An innovative feature of this course, aligning teaching, independent student learning, and assessment, is the ‘Dante wiki’. Each student will contribute to one of four projects, preparing content for a group wiki to be hosted in Blackboard 9, and participating in a group presentation of the project to the rest of the class. The individual contribution to the group project is worth 25% of the final mark, based on c. 1000 words of online content. Access to the group wikis will be restricted to the group members until the presentations, after which they will be available to the class as a whole as a shared resource for the final summative essay.
Students will also have the opportunity to keep an online reflective journal of their learning, in which they can record various elements (such as library workshops, secondary reading, seminar presentations) as they go along. While not compulsory, this will provide a valuable resource to draw on for the final comparative essay, and can be shared with other students in the VLE.
With a focus on individual research throughout, students are encouraged to explore their own interests and choose a final essay topic in discussion with the tutor.
Kathleen Speight, ‘The John Rylands Library Dante Collection’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 44 (1961-62), 175-212 . [Available via Link2Lists]
A copy of Dante’s Commedia in Italian, based on the critical text established by Giorgio Petrocchi
The Book History Reader, ed. By David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (London and New York: Routledge, 2002). Includes excerpts from the key works on book history: an excellent introduction to the field. ?
- Brian Richardson, Print Culture in Renaissance Italy 1470-1600 (Cambridge : CUP, 1994) ?
- Brian Richardson, Printing, Writing and Readers in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: CUP, 1999) ?
- Peter L. Shillingsburg, From Gutenberg to Google: Electronic Representations of Literary Texts (Cambridge: CUP, 2006)