The Book: Print and Manuscript in Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East (1450-1650)

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Harvard University




Free (certificate fee: USD$ 69, optional)

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This course illustrates how book printing first developed and shaped the modern book. It is offered by Harvard University through edX, an online education platform.

In this course, participants learn how early printed books in mid-fifteenth century Europe were first modeled on medieval manuscripts, printing in East Asia, by wood block and movable type, and the late dominance of manuscript production in the Islamic world. Each unit in this course features rare manuscripts and printed books in the Harvard Libraries, which viewers can investigate in more depth within the courseware and on their own.

Some of the questions addressed in this course are:

  • How a printed book differs from a manuscript
  • How xylography differs from typography
  • How illustrations were printed
  • How books were censored
  • How printing developed differently in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East