MLitt in Book History
The University of St Andrews offers a unique combination of expertise on the history of the book. High-profile projects such as the French Vernacular Book Project, the Universal Short Title Catalogue and the Protestant Latin Bible Project are all proof of the vitality of research into the book world. The history of the book group has also in recent years welcomed high-profile scholars from other institutions such as Robert Darnton and Jean-FranÃ§ois Gilmont.
This is complemented by an active conference culture around the theme of book history. Recent conferences include:
- Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World (June, 2012)
- The Early Modern Book World (November, 2011)
- Documenting the Early Modern Book World: Inventories and Catalogues in Manuscript and Print (July, 2011)
- Medical books in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (January 2011)
- The Book Triumphant: the book in the second century of print, 1540-1640. (September 2009)
- The Book in Transition: the printed book in the post-incunabula age, 1500-1540. (September 2008)
- Society for the Study of French History Conference on the theme âlibraries and archivesâ. (July 2007)
This degree offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the book world from the inception of the printed book in the 15th century to the invention of the mechanised press in the 19th century.
This is intended as a postgraduate training course for student intending to proceed to advanced work in the history of early modern print culture, and for those interested in exploring a career as a rare book specialist in libraries, antiquarian booksellers or auction houses.
The course combines training in the history of the book with specialist instruction in bibliographical description and cataloguing of early printed books.Â Students will also be able to enrol for training courses in Latin, palaeography and modern European languages.
Core course: The Hand Press Book from Renaissance to Romanticism.
The course will provide students (who may have little or no knowledge of the subject) with an understanding of key issues in the production, consumption, and historiography of printed books ca.1445-1830.Â It will also inculcate an awareness of methods and resources relevant to the study of book history in the period concerned. The course will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue further study in the field and the potential to complete successfully the other requirements of the M.Litt.
Directed reading module: The student will follow a course of directed reading with one of the participating members of staff of their choice.
Training module: Students will take the specially designed training course on technical bibliography as well as one of following skill-based courses: palaeography, Latin or a modern European language.
A 15,000 word dissertation is written between April and August, and provides students with an opportunity to pursue independent research. Each student will be assigned an appropriate supervisor, who will guide their research and writing via regular meetings.
Students will be encouraged to work with original printed books from the large selection of early printed books of the special collections of the University of St Andrews library.
Those enrolled on the course will also have access to the developing data files of the Universal Short Title Catalogue 15/16, an analytical database of all books published throughout Europe before 1601. For further information see the project website.
Students on this course will have access to some of the most advanced on-line resources such as the Heritage of the Printed Book (HPB) Database as well as collections of digitalised early printed books such as Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Early European Books. They will also be able to use more focused collections such as Anti-Calvin and The Huguenots.
Postgraduate work with the USTC
The project group welcomes applications for Ph.D work.Â Students conducting postgraduate research with the project work towards an independent study, but with access to the developing datasets of the USTC.Â A number of possible subjects identified by the staff of the USTC are listed here:
Eligible candidates will also be considered for nomination for an AHRC studentship with the School of History at St Andrews.Â The School of History has recently been awarded 17 fully funded studentships for the period 2009-2014.Â Four will be awarded for students embarking on Ph.D research in 2010.
Candidates will only be nominated for this competition through the USTC if they have a first class honours degree (or equivalent), or a distinction in a training masters degree.
The St Andrews book project group has an outstanding record of mentoring Ph.D students to completion. Students who complete their thesis will automatically have their work considered for publication by the series that accompanies the work of the USTC: the Library of the the Written Word which is published by Brill in Leiden.
The developing datasets of the USTC suggest a number of research topics that could bear systematic investigation.Â The following list contains indicative examples, where the project team have recognised the potential for further study, but we will also be happy to engage in dialogue with potential students to probe the viability of their own suggestions.
- Sixteenth-century editions of the Classics
- Luther and the market-place: the economic impact of Reformation publishing
- The development of female authorial identity
- The development of the European network of privilege and copyright
- Sixteenth-century medical writings
- The duchy of Lorraine and the printed book
Enquiries from students interested in pursuing these opportunities should be addressed to Professor Andrew Pettegree (email@example.com). They will then be put directly in touch with the most appropriate supervisor.