University of Oregon

LIB 199: From Gothic Script to Graphic Novel

LIB 199: From Gothic Script to Graphic Novel (Fall 2012)
James Fox & Marilyn Reaves

Course Description: 

Imagine an anonymous medieval monk writing on prepared animal skin with a bird’s quill. Then picture “comics journalist” Joe Sacco traveling the world today to draw stories in a war zone. Both play a role in the history and art of the book. How has the book evolved, as both a physical object and as a transmitter of culture? How has reading changed from a spoken activity to a silent one, perhaps on a smart phone or iPad? Our reading, discussion, and hands-on practice will illuminate these and other topics. Book-arts projects will include making a sewn book, writing calligraphic scripts, setting type, and drawing pen-and-ink illustrations. Our classes will be held in the Library’s Special Collections, where you will have access to rare books and medieval manuscripts for study.

Related Interests: Books, Art-Making, History, Hands on Learning

Course Details:
CRN: 14126
Time: MW 2-3:50pm
Location: 201 Knight Library (Special Collections)


About the Instructors:

James Fox & Marilyn Reaves

Teaching a Freshman Seminar gives us an opportunity to introduce incoming students to the long and rich history of the book, as both a human-made artifact and a means for transmitting culture, and to connect students with unique resources in the Knight Library’s special collections.

We believe that learning through things, learning from hands-on work, and hearing from real-life practitioners are engaging and rewarding approaches to teaching and study. In this class, we do all three. First, we undertake a close physical analysis of book forms to see how an understanding of these material objects can help us reconstruct and interpret the lifeways and culture of the past and the present. Then, we make books and write text using traditional binding structures and medieval and Renaissance scripts. In this way, we can develop a deeper awareness and appreciation of the craftsmanship and art forms that go into creating books. Finally, we hear from people who write, print, or collect books, allowing us to better understand their cultural roles and to see how books function in society. Interwoven with these three approaches to studying the book are readings by book historians and others who challenge our thinking about the past, present, and future of the book.

Back to Freshman Seminars 2012-2013

2 responses to “LIB 199: From Gothic Script to Graphic Novel”

  1. Would this class be beneficial to an anthropology/archaeology major?

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