The Book: The History of the Book in the 17th and 18th Century Europe

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The Book: The History of the Book in the 17th and 18th Century Europe

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FREE

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edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

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22213 reviews

Course Description

This module of The Book: Histories Across Time and Space focuses on the physical qualities of books, the role of books in 17th and 18th century France, and the emergence of literature as a modern form of culture.

We will focus on the importance of books as physical objects and the raw material of literature--namely, paper.  By considering the nature of paper and how it was made during the early modern period--from Gutenberg's time to the early nineteenth century--we can begin to understand the character of books and the way they worked.

This module also examines how books fit into the legal and political system of France under the Old Regime during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the French set standards imitated throughout Europe.  Before modern copyright, legal books had privileges, granted by the king, which provided a guarantee of quality as well as certification of   orthodoxy. ...

This module of The Book: Histories Across Time and Space focuses on the physical qualities of books, the role of books in 17th and 18th century France, and the emergence of literature as a modern form of culture.

We will focus on the importance of books as physical objects and the raw material of literature--namely, paper.  By considering the nature of paper and how it was made during the early modern period--from Gutenberg's time to the early nineteenth century--we can begin to understand the character of books and the way they worked.

This module also examines how books fit into the legal and political system of France under the Old Regime during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the French set standards imitated throughout Europe.  Before modern copyright, legal books had privileges, granted by the king, which provided a guarantee of quality as well as certification of   orthodoxy.  To qualify for a privilege, books had to be approved by censors.  Uncensored books, including most of the works of the Enlightenment, were usually produced outside France and circulated in the kingdom through a vast underground distribution system. 

In addition, this module addresses the emergence of literature as a modern form of culture, which can be studied best in eighteenth-century England.  The first copyright law (1710), a high rate of literacy, a booming consumer market, a precocious periodical industry, and entrepreneurial publishing concentrated in London led to the development of a new kind of author--the independent writer. Samuel Johnson epitomized this new phenomenon. This module will allow you to get a close look at him and everything he represented by providing access to the Hyde Collection of Johnson's books and papers in Houghton Library at Harvard.


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Reviews 9/10 stars
4 Reviews for The Book: The History of the Book in the 17th and 18th Century Europe

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Kim Nelson profile image
Kim Nelson profile image

Kim Nelson

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 2 months ago
Good course. You can find more information on James Boswell at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library online.
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Sam Nguyen profile image
Sam Nguyen profile image

Sam Nguyen

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 8 months ago
Absolutely in love with this course. The information was interesting and the way we approach it was motivating. Nonetheless, I do wish the course was longer.
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Sunny Breeze profile image
Sunny Breeze profile image

Sunny Breeze

9/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 8 months ago
As an avid book reader, I really liked this course and I found it to be very informative too. Prof. Darnton's enthusiasm for history and books is contagious. I am giving 4.5 stars for the content only because I would have liked the course to be longer. Thank you for providing this!
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Paul Hundal profile image
Paul Hundal profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 138 reviews
  • 119 completed
3 years, 8 months ago
Excellent mini-MOOC. This module focuses on one part of the overall course that can be completed in a much shorter time. I was able to focus on the topics of most interest. Excellent presentation and material.
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