Words, Words, Words (and PageImages Too!): Using Digital Library and Archival Materials to Teach Renaissance Book History to Students David Oberhelman & Sarah Coates Oklahoma State University Library Stillwater, OK
Renaissance Print History• 2011 – New Shakespeare/Renaissance literature professor wanted to include history of the book and print culture• Approached OSU library to collaborate on assignments using digital text collections (Early English Books Online/EEBO) and other databases (esp. biographical databases)• Discussed library’s collection of rare books and Otto M. Forkert typography collection with examples of printed sheets from 1400s to 1800s• English librarian and Special Collections staff partnered with professor to introduce students to early books, bookbinding, printers, and the cultural aspects of the early book trade in 1500s-1600s England
Goals and Objectives• Introduce students to the material culture of the book trade in the Renaissance and how it affected the production of literature – Increase exposure to the books in print during that era/ideas in circulation – Learn about printers, technology, and how books were published and distributed – Use digital and archival library materials to help modern students learn about the world of Renaissance book making and transition from manuscript to print culture
Courses with Print History Components• Fall 2011 & Spring 2012 taught print culture in 3000- & 4000-level Shakespeare courses, first with EEBO – Keywords assignment – Printer biography assignment – Rare books demo• Fall 2012 4000-level Renaissance Literature & Protestantism Course – Tie-in with NEH traveling exhibit on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible – Keywords assignment – Protestantism, Bible translation, and the book trade
Short Title Catalogue Works 1475-1700126,000 Page Images and Text Creation Partnership Hand-Keyed Text (for ~25,000 Titles)
History of Print & the Book Introduction• History of Renaissance Print in Classroom – Manuscript Culture to Gutenberg – Caxton and early printing in England – English printing trade (printers and apprentices) – Stationers Company and royal censorship• Printing of Shakespeares plays – MSS and “fair”/“foul” papers – Quartos (“bad” and “good”) – First Folio (1623)
Library Research Guide on Print History / Printing Shakespeare’s Plays
“Words, Words, Words”: Shakespearean Keywords AssignmentYour presentation should focus on telling the class what your EEBO search shows aboutEarly Modern perceptions of one particular concern reflected in the Shakespeare play youare researching. You and your classmates my present a concentrated look at any one textyou discover, or you may decide to survey the works you find, pulling up materials on thecomputer in front of the room.Recommended Keywords:• Troilus and Cressida – Pander • Winter’s Tale – Statues• King Lear – Bearbaiting – King Lear (to find original texts) – Shepherds – Nature – Garden – Bastard • Othello• Twelfth Night – Moor – Epiphany – Antipodes – Melancholy – Jealousy – Hermaphrodite – Puritan • Tempest – Algiers• Macbeth – Africa – Fancy, fantasy – Alchemy – Witch – Magic
Printers’ Biographies AssignmentThis assignment is intended to give you a sense of the print history of Shakespeares plays; abetter understanding of the Renaissance English book trade and period print culture; and thechance to hone your research skills as you navigate and synthesize a variety of onlineresources. It will also give the chance to see (at least in online scans) what printed textslooked like in Shakespeares time.1. Using EEBO, compile a bibliography of the printed editions of Shakespeares TitusAndronicus, Richard III , or Hamlet up to and including the 1623 Folio.2. Using the Dictionary of National Biography and the Dictionary of Literary Biography,find out information about the PRINTER of one of these editions and write a short (-1page) synthesis and summary of the DNB/DLB articles that focuses on the most relevant,pertinent, and interesting information. If your first choice of printer does not yield results inthese two works, find another printer to write about. Be careful- there may be a number ofpeople in these dictionaries with the same name. Just because you are writing about John QSmith, do not assume that the first John Q Smith you come across in the DNB is the oneyou are looking for. Pay attention to dates and details (i.e. doe the bio mention that thisindividual was, in fact, a printer? Was this person alive at the time these works were beingprinted? Etc.) Be especially careful about fathers and sons, who often shared both names andprofessions.
Renaissance Literature & Protestantism Course• Focus on the politics of Bible translation in Tudor and early Stuart England: – William Tyndale – Desiderius Erasmus – Thomas More – Geneva Bible – King James Bible (1611)
Rare Book Demonstration• After working with the EEBO digital texts, students have opportunity to view incunabula and books up to 17th- century in Special Collections• Learn about printing and see how books were bound• Tie in with assignments on the history of print culture
Map of the World (ca. 1500) –Forkert Typography Collection
School Primer MS, Colonial America (ca. 1700s)
Future Assignments Using Digital Library/Archival Materials• Graduate student internship/project to do descriptive/analytical bibliographic studies of rare books or MSS in Special Collections• Tie in EEBO assignment with the actual books in Special Collections (as with Holinshed or Erasmus) – what they learn from the “real thing” vs. digital surrogate• Supervised undergraduate group projects with rare books and Forkert typographical examples – group presentations on books or printing with digital photos, etc., in PPT or Prezi• Possible co-taught courses on Early Modern Literature & the History of the Book
Contact Details David Oberhelmand.firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Coatessarah.email@example.com
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