English 204: History and Future of the Book

About English 204: History and Future of the Book

The calendar describes English 204 as

[a]n introductory history of the concept and technology of the book. The course focuses on the development of the book as a vehicle of communication and on its ideological and political impact, with some attention to the emergence and consequences of digital platforms such as e-mail, the web, and electronic books.

As we will see, “book” in this description is a kind of synecdoche (a use of the part for the whole). What we really mean by “book” is “public communication”: literature (fiction and non-fiction), science, history, news, letters and contracts, even, in some contexts at least, Social Media posts and hastags (we will define what we mean by some of these terms in our first few classes). While much of the course will be concerned with books in the usual sense of the word, we will also be looking at some of these other forms of communication, including oral poetry, the role of tradition Read the rest of this entry »


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