February 26, 2008 Archives
While we are starting to talk about the printing press, and we have in class discussed the relationship between digital culture and print culture, note that this exercise asks you to focus on manuscript culture. The book as we know it is about 2000 years old, but each book was painstakingly built by hand. How does the standardization introduced by the printing press affect the act of writing? The act of reading? Look at Trithemius, DeRenzo, Ong, various sections of Brookfield, for evidence to support your answer. Rather than answering right away, and then looking for evidence support your knee-jerk reaction, first look through the readings for evidence. Assemble quotes, look for patterns, seek connections. (The study questions in Writing Material are a good start, and the introductions to the "Suggested Groupings" in the back of the book offer interesting ways to connect the readings.)
That's all I have to say about the content of this exercise -- I am very open, as long as your thesis is rooted in the assigned readings. The rest of this document deals with the form of the paper.
As with Ex 2, I am interested in seeing how well you can synthesize.
Pick a narrow topic. "Books and the Middle Class" is too broad. "Books and the Middle Class in London, 1700-1800" is narrower. (I don't expect you to do any outside research for this exercise; quoting from the sources we have read will be enough.)