The Enduring Book: From Medieval Manuscripts to Artists’ Books

Meeting in the Davison Rare Book Room at Wesleyan’s Olin Library, this course offers an up-close look at the most enduring format for the written word in the West: the book. Using examples from Wesleyan’s rich collections, we will explore the unity and multiplicity of the book through the ages. In each session, we will engage with both high spots from the history of the book, such as the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, and modest books intended for everyday readers.

Our first session will focus on the 15th-century transition from handwritten manuscripts to books printed with moveable type. Our second session will study the Bible, not as a sacred text, but as an avenue for understanding the grand arc of the history and evolution of printing and illustration. In our final session, we will look closely at 20th- and 21st-century books as art objects that simultaneously engage the reader and question the very nature of the book and what it means to read.
Throughout, we will come to appreciate the book as both an enduring format and a transitional medium.

Instructor: Suzy Taraba

Three Wednesdays: September 28; October 5, 12 | 6:30–8 P.M.
Davison Rare Book Room, 103 Olin Library | $70

This course is full and closed to further registrations.

Suzy Taraba
SUZY TARABA , director of Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan, holds BA and MALS degrees from Wesleyan and the MLS from Columbia University. She has taught literally hundreds of class sessions featuring the holdings of Special Collections & Archives.