21H.343J | Spring 2016 | Undergraduate

Making Books: The Renaissance and Today

Readings and Videos

[D] = Del Col, Andrea, ed. Domenico Scandella Known as Menocchio: His Trials Before the Inquisition (1583–1599). Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi. Mrts, 1996. ISBN: 9780866981484.

[G] = Ginzburg, Carlo. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi. John Hopkins University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9781421409887. [Preview with Google Books]

[F] = Febvre, Lucien, and Henri-Jean Martin. The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450–1800. Translated by David Gerard. Seagull Books, 1976. ISBN: 9788170462668. [Preview with Google Books]

[P] = Pettegree, Andrew. The Book in the Renaissance. Yale University Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780300178210.

The table below contains the required readings and videos for the course.

1 Introduction


AntonBergen. “Medieval helpdesk in English.” February 23, 2008. YouTube.

2 Paper-Making, Manuscript, and Print


[F] “Preliminaries: The Introduction of Paper into Europe.”

[P] Chapter 1: The Book Before Print.

[P] Chapter 2: The Invention of Printing.

Clanchy, Michael T. “Looking Back from the Invention of Printing.” Chapter 2 in Literacy in Historical Perspective. Edited by Daniel P. Resnick. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, 1983. ISBN: 9780844404103.


Avi Michael. “Chancery Papermaking.” May 28, 2013. YouTube.

Bob Witlox. “Traditional paper making in Bhutan.” November 14, 2008. YouTube.

3 Manuscripts and Early European Print Materials in the MIT Libraries No readings or videos assigned
4 Religion in Print


[P] Chapter 6: Luther’s Legacy.

Wandel, Lee Palmer. “The Word.” Chapter 3 in The Reformation: Towards a New History. Cambridge University Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780521717977. [Preview with Google Books]

Map of Reformation Europe – 1492–1560, Credo.

5 Early Modern Printed Religious Materials in the MIT Libraries No readings or videos assigned
6 The Meanings and Uses of Early European Print—A Conversation No readings or videos assigned
7 A Visit to the Hart Nautical Collection, MIT Museum


Victoria and Albert Museum. “Woodcut Printing 1450–1520.” November 23, 2009. YouTube.

Eric Paul Meier. “From Paper to Copper: The Engraver’s Process.” September 28, 2009. YouTube.

8 Print and Natural Philosophy


[P] Chapter 13: Science and Exploration.

Johns, Adrian. “Introduction: The Book of Nature and the Nature of the Book.” Chapter 1 in The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780226401218. [Preview with Google Books]

9 Early Modern Natural Philosophy in the MIT Libraries No readings or videos assigned

How A Sixteenth-Century Italian Miller Read: The Historian’s Interpretation



Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered: Unlock the Archive, Brienne.


How A Sixteenth-Century Italian Miller Read: The Documents I


[D] “The Trials.”

[D] “Denunciation.”


How A Sixteenth-Century Italian Miller Read: The Documents II


[D] “First Trial, 1583.”

[D] “Second Trial, 1596.”

[D] “Appendix: Letters From The Holy Office.”

13 Print Your Own Text Boxcar Press

Various Printing Press Reconstructions

The Dürer Press Group and The Arrival of The Dürer Press in London

First Floor Press, Special Collections at the Claremont Colleges Library

Isaiah Thomas Press Reconstruction, Colonial Heritage Foundation

International School History. “Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press.” May 18, 2015. YouTube. (*Note: Go to minute 47 to see the replica printing press in use.)

Course Info

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Spring 2016
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