E 384K • Graphic Design and the Literary Text
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
How does a books 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, footnotes, 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 problematics 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 problematics under discussion.
Discussion of editorial theory and illustrative holdings from the HRC will be divided into rubrics such as:
Front matter (prefaces, dedications, puff pieces)
Design (layout, leading, typeface)
Notes and glosses
In addition, there will be a compilation of secondary readings that will include essays on editorial theory, paratext, textual studies, image and text, and bibliography by such names as Gabler, McGann, Genette, Parkes, Mitchell, and Gaskell.