Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Lectures supplemented by practicals.
Lecture 20 Hours.
Practical 3 Hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment One 3,000 word essay to be submitted by Friday 24th March 2000 Essay questions Answer any one question 1. Discuss the evidence for the practice of printing before about 1440 2. Discuss the career of William Caxton 3. In terms of the transmission and receiving of infomation what chages were brought about when printed documents superseded manuscripts? 4. What attempts were made from about 1510 to 1557 to control the press and how successful were they? 5. Between about 1550 and the 1580s many printers in Britain were unhappy with their condition. Why was this so and what action did they take? 6. How did it become possible for an author to earn a living by writing? 7. Outline the development of the publications of news to the outbreak of the Civil War. 8. In 1709 there was a radical change in the concept of copyright. What was the change, what were the subsequent results, and how did it effect authors? 9. How have publishers sought to reduce their capital outlay? 10. Discuss the development of publishing and selling books as cheaply as possible to large numbers of people. 11. How did nineteenth-century circulating libraries influence the book trade? 12. What was the Private Press Movement, how did it arise, and what was its influence? 13. How far is it legitimate for a textual bibliographer to attempt to construct an edition based on the authors intentions?   Essay: Presentation 25% - Content 55% - Bibliography and Citation 20% 


This module will include:

(a) Analysis and description of books

The physical analysis of early book; type, paper, format, imposition, presswork, decoration, binding.

Bibliographical description: how to describe books precisely and identify their variants; title-page transcription, collation formula, inserts and cancels. The clasification of variants in terms of edition, impression, issue and state.

This part of the course includes a series of practical sessions which culminate in a full description of a book. The full description is assessed.

(b) The history of the book

Printing before Gutenberg; Gutenberg and his successors; the fifteenth and sixteenth century book in Europe.

The book in Britain from the fifteenth century onwards. For each period the social and economic background to book production is studied, together with developments in the book trade. Specific topics include.

the impact of printing and features of print culture; the differences between manuscript and print culture;

Caxton and the early English book trade;

Tudor attitudes of printing. The Stationers' Company and the regulation of the press.
Elizabethan and Jacobean printing-house practice. The Civil War and its impact on the press.
Changed attitudes after Civil War. Eighteenth century books: their quantity and diversity. The 1709 copyright act. The rise of periodicals. The development of publishers. Machine-printed books: technological changes. Factors influencing the growth of literacy. Nineteenth century publishing. The developemnt of bookselling. The influence of libraries on the book trade;

bibliography and the problems of textual transmission: theories of textual criticism.

At the end of this module you should be able to:

. analyse the structure of a bok;
. provide a bibliographical description of a book;
. explain the history of the book in Britain from the time of William Caxton to about 1950;
. suggest a rationale for textual bibliography.


This module is at CQFW Level 7