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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Print Culture and the Enlightenment: Edinburgh and London, 1710-1814 (HIST10389)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies the cultural history of the Enlightenment, focussing on the circulation of manuscripts, correspondence, and printed books. We will consider the ways in which authors, publishers, readers, literary patrons, and civic trustees facilitated the circulation of ideas between its principal cultural centres: Edinburgh and London, 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). We will also consider the historical silences over colonial enslavement among celebrities of Enlightenment intellectual discourse, which print culture has enabled over the past two centuries.
Course description This course studies the cultural history of the Enlightenment, focussing on the circulation of manuscripts, correspondence, and printed books. Featuring 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 between its principal cultural centres: Edinburgh and London. 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, with particular emphasis on their meaning for historians of eighteenth-century Britain.

Seminars will address: definitions of Enlightenment among intellectual, social, and cultural historians; early copyright law and its interpretations; the social emergence of authorship and publishing as professions; the extension of social networks from Scottish towns to the London metropolis through print trades; the construction and expression of moral 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.

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

All of the course readings will be available online through the Learn interface; materials for preparation of student work are held in the University Library (CRC) and National Library of Scotland.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: British patriotic celebrations of the economic benefits of racist enslavement practices and the African slave trade to British merchants and their consumers; outright refusals of British commentators to accept the term "slavery" to apply to Africans and their descendents, whether in the colonies or metropole; depictions of the London sex trades that ignore or deny the pervasive reality of sexual violence against women and children. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
2000 word written assessment (30%)
3000 word final written assessment (50%)

Non-Written Skills:
Assessment based on weekly contributions to ALG discussion forums and one in-class presentation with bibliographical handout (20%)
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to submit outlines of the two essays two weeks in advance of each submission date, and they will receive feedback by email. In addition, students will be invited to meet weekly with the course organiser in-person and/or online, as they prefer.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Through verbal, written, and group work: demonstrate a critical understanding of the social and material forces that enabled the circulation of ideas through print in eighteenth-century England and Scotland;
  2. exhibit a meaningful understanding of the cultural significance of authors and booksellers in contemporary Edinburgh and London;
  3. handle, describe, and examine materials that document 18th-century print culture;
  4. arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented conclusions in an extended essay, which properly reference primary and secondary sources.
Reading List
Berry, H. "Rethinking Politeness in Eighteenth-Century England: Moll King's Coffee House and the Significance of Flash Talk," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 11 (2001): 65-81.
Brown, S. W. and W. McDougall, eds. The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, 1707-1800, (Edinburgh: U of Edinburgh P, 2012).
Budd, A. "Merit in Distress: The Troubled Success of Mary Barber," RES 53 (May 2002): 204-27.
Elliott, J. E. "The Cost of Reading in Eighteenth Century Britain: Auction Sale Catalogues and the Cheap Literature Hypothesis," English Literary History 77 (Summer 2010). 353-84.
Holderton, E. "James Thomson's The Seasons and the Empire of the Seas," Huntington Library Quarterly, 78 (Spring 2015): 41-60.
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).
Raven, J. "The Book as Commodity," Oxford History of the Book in Britain, 1695-1830, eds. M. Suarez and M. Turner, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009) 85-118;
--. "The Industrial Revolution of the Book," The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, ed. L. Howsam (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015) 143-161.
Reddick, A. "Introduction, 'From the Great Desire of Promoting Learning': Thomas Hollis's Gifts to the Harvard College Library," by W. Bond, Harvard Library Bulletin 19 (February 2010): 1-31.
R. B. Sher, "Toward a Book History of the Scottish Enlightenment," The Enlightenment and the Book, (Chicago: Chicago UP, 2007) 1-40.
W. St Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004).
M. Walsh, Shakespeare, Milton, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Editing, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997) 4-29.
Wener, Sarah. Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide, London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:

* understanding complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past;
* ability to analyse the origins and development of current historiographical debates;
* demonstrate bibliographical research skills that enable access to restricted-access archival materials, including the safe handling, examination, and technical description of historical manuscripts and handpress books;
* make effective use of IT-based online research skills, using closed-access scholarly resources that are not searchable through Google;
* develop a range of skills in material and textual analysis;
* ability to question and problematise evidence, considering relationships between evidence and interpretation;
* ability to assemble arguments coherently and concisely, both orally and in prose;
* ability to deliver a presentation before an audience of peers;
* ability to design and execute written projects and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the assessed essay of 3,000 words.
KeywordsPrint Culture
Course organiserDr Adam Budd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3834
Course secretaryMiss Lauren Smith
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