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History of the Book 1: Developments and Practice


Admission requirements

Only available for Book and Digital Media Studies students and BDMS exchange students. Others may contact the course organisers


This introductory course deals with the history of the printed book in the West. Central themes are the transition from manuscript to print, censorship, the development of copyright, technical and organisational changes in book production and distribution, reading and book collecting, the emergence of a public sphere, the physical appearance of the book, and the impact of the printed book on society. During the course, students will be given small research assignments.

Course objectives

  • To acquire a general knowledge of the history of the printed book in the West from the invention of printing to the present;

  • To become familiar with the methods and tools used in book historical research


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method

Written examination (20%) and small assignments (80%).



Reading list

Simon Eliot & Jonathan Rose (eds.), A companion to the history of the book. Blackwell, 2009 [paperback edition]).


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply


Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail.
Co-ordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.