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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Print Culture and the Enlightenment: Edinburgh, London, and Philadelphia: 1710-1814 (CLLC11197)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies the literary and cultural history of the Enlightenment, focusing on the circulation of manuscripts, correspondence, printed books, and political pamphlets. We will consider the ways in which authors, publishers, readers, and civic trustees facilitated the circulation of books and ideas within and among three principal centres in the anglophone world: Edinburgh, London, and Philadelphia, from enactment of the world's first copyright law (An Act of Anne, 1710) to industrial adoption of the steam-powered press (at The Times, 1814). This course will range from social history (the migration of Scottish printers from Edinburgh to London) to the literary history of Revolutionary pamphlets and printed forms of Black protest (in Philadelphia during the 1790s).
Course description This course studies the literary and cultural history of the Enlightenment, focussing on the circulation of manuscripts, correspondence, and printed books. If possible, this course will feature unique resources held in the university's Centre for Research Collections, we will consider the ways in which authors, publishers, readers, literary patrons, and civic trustees facilitated the movement of Enlightenment ideas within and among three principal centres: Edinburgh, London, and Philadelphia. The chronological reach of this course will extend from enactment of the world's first copyright law (An Act of Anne, 1710) to industrial adoption of the steam-powered press (at The Times, 1814). Readings will include classic statements in the historiography of the Enlightenment and its printed legacies, with particular emphasis on their meaning authors, readers, and literary critics in eighteenth-century Britain and colonial America.

Seminars will comprise a combination of short introductory lectures with group discussion, drawing upon blog posts developed through ALGs that will meet weekly. Students will give one 15-min in-class presentation with a short bibliographical handout, on which they will receive written feedback.

Seminars may address: definitions of Enlightenment among intellectual, social, and cultural historians; early copyright law and its interpretations on both sides of the Atlantic; the social emergence of authorship and publishing as professions; the extension of social networks from Scottish towns to the London metropolis and the American colonies through print trades; the construction and expression of moral and literary controversies through manuscript and print; the changing technologies of print; the importance of coffee house culture; the roles of literary patrons and civic trustees in the circulation of Enlightenment and anti-Enlightenment ideas through the creation of libraries and archives.

Students will learn how to handle, examine, and describe the manuscripts and early-printed books that that our course readings discuss.

All of the course readings will be available online through Learn; materials for preparation of student work will be held in the University Library and National Library of Scotland and electronically, using ECCO. This course can be taught entirely in a hybrid format, using videos created by the CRC in lieu of in situ access.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the social and material forces that enabled the circulation of ideas through print in eighteenth-century England, Scotland, and in colonial New England.
  2. Formulate a meaningful understanding of the cultural significance of authors and booksellers in contemporary Edinburgh, London, and Philadelphia.
  3. Handle, describe, and examine materials that document 18th-century print culture.
  4. Appraise independent, well-argued, well-documented conclusions referencing primary and secondary sources
  5. Design and execute an effective presentation, using associated software for in-person and/or remote delivery.
Reading List
All of required resources will be available electronically, using existing resources. These will include:

Amory, H. and D. Hall, eds. A History of the Book in America: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World, (Charlotte: U of North Carolina P, 2007);
Budd, A. Circulating Enlightenment, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2020);
Franklin, B. The Autobiography and Other Writings, ed. A. Houston, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008);
Rivers, I. Books and Their Readers in England: New Essays, (London: Athlone P, 2002);
Sher, R. The Enlightenment and the Book, (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006);
Spires, D. The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States, (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2019)
Suarez, M. and M. Turner, eds. The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 5 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007);
Bond, W. "From the Great Desire of Promoting Learning": Thomas Hollis's Gifts to the Harvard College Library, (Cambridge, MA: Houghton Library, 2010).

Allan, D. "Reading Hume's History of England: Audience and Authority in Georgian England," David Hume: Historical Thinker, Historical Writer, ed. M. G. Spencer, (University Park, PA: Penn State UP, 2013), 103-20.
Blagden, C. "The English Stock," The Stationers Company: A History, 1403-1959, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1960), 92-109.
Brown, S. W. and W. McDougall, eds. The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, 1707-1800, (Edinburgh: U of Edinburgh P, 2012) 23-40; 118-143.¿
Jackson, I. "Approaches to the History of Readers and Reading in Eighteenth-Century Britain," Historical Journal, 47 (2004)' 1041-54.
Mandelbrote, G. and K. A. Manley, The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, 1640-1850, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006) 241-263; 2850313; 405-437.¿;
J. Raven, "The Industrial Revolution of the Book," The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, ed. L. Howsam (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015) 143-161.
W. St Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004).
M. Towsey, "'The Book Seemed to Sink into Oblivion': Reading Hume's History in Eighteenth-Century Scotland," David Hume, ed. M. Spencer. 80-102.
Van Horn Melton, J. "Drinking in Public: Taverns and Coffeehouses," The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001) 226-250.
M. Walsh, Shakespeare, Milton, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Editing, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997) 4-29.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The ability to think critically and reflectively about the primary and secondary sources we have studied, and the questions we have considered in relation to those sources;
The ability to participate in debates about the creation, construction, circulation, and fashioning of knowledge, both in the past and present, offering clear, cogent and well-supported arguments;
The ability to devise focused research questions on the history of archives and eighteenth-century historiography, within and beyond Britain, and to deliver answers through engagement with a varied body of source materials.
KeywordsEnlightenment,print culture,history of the book,eighteenth century
Course organiserDr Adam Budd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3834
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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