Technics of Print, 1500-1800

Tutor: Emilie Murphy

Module type: MA Skills

Module code: HIS00104M

Credits: 10

This module offers an introduction to the technical analysis and interpretation of printed items made in the period 1500-1800. It is designed to provide students with the technical skills needed to begin research using early-modern printed sources. Students will learn about the historiography of print culture and associated concepts (such as reception and circulation). They will be able to see, first-hand, an early-modern printing-press and understand how it worked. They will handle a variety of early-modern sources – including but not limited to books, handbills, music, pamphlets, and plays – from the tens of thousands of printed items in the collections of York Minster Library.

The provisional programme is as follows:

Week 1: Briefing (1 hour)
Week 2: Context/theory seminar: The Historiography of Print (2 hours)
Week 3: Workshop I: The Printing Press (4 hours)
Week 4: Workshop II: York Minster Library (4 hours)
Weeks 5-8: Independent project work
Week 8: Project Mini-Conference (3 hours) 

Preliminary Reading 

    • Green, Ian. ‘Print’ in Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources eds. Laura Sangha and Jonathan Willis. London: Routledge, 2016. 
    • Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Press as an agent of change: Communications and cultural transformations in early modern Europe. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979. 
    • Febvre, Lucien & Henri-Jean Martin. The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800 (various editions).

Students should also explore the following online resources: 

For more information, please refer to the module catalogue.