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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35630 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
HRC 2.214

Course Description

How does a book's appearance affect its interpretation? This course will consider not only the impact of editorial theory upon the life of a literary text but the manner in which the non-verbal, or paratextual, elements of a literary work (layout, punctuation, front matter, title page, illustration, notes and glosses, indexes, etc.) impact literary study. This class aims to provide students with a broad-based understanding of the history of the book. In the process it will expose students to the fundamental tenets and workings of editorial theory, as these impact every aspect of literary studies - regardless of specialty in historical period or genre. Thus, this is not a class in a single historical period, rather it will range across book history from incunabula to Nabokov. Indeed the interests and particular research expertise of the students who take the class will, partly, determine the texts considered. The class will meet in the HRC and make extensive use of its collections, illustrating with concrete examples the editorial problems under discussion. In additon to Genettes book Paratexts, secondary readings will include essays on editorial theory, textual studies, image and text, and bibliography by such names as Gabler, McGann, Parkes, Mitchell, and Gaskell. With an eye towards professionalization, assignments will include working in standard genres of the profession, including the academic book review, the formal conference paper, and the article-length essay . One of these must be on a topic outside of the students current research specialty.


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