This is a program for first-year students only.

Non-first-years might consider The Art of the Book, an 8 credit summer program.









Program Description

In this program, we will study literature, writing and reading with particular emphasis on the intersection of the literary and poetic forms of language with the visual and physical form of the book. We'll face the challenge of allowing our own writing to become material, of seeing our work as language, image and form, and the nature of our writing as tied to the history and particularity of the book form. We'll trace the influence that the idea of the book and its materiality has had on certain literary movements and consider how attending to "bookness" presents fundamental challenges to the conventions of literary arts.

We will read literary and poetic works: some that already seem to require or exploit their "bookness," others that contribute to our understanding of books as icons, as totems, or as conceptually potent, and we'll read works that allow us to look deeply into language and the art of writing in a way that brings us close to the materiality of literature. In the course of studying these works, we will connect theory with practice by writing critically and creatively about our reading; in fact, we will come to practice reading as an art in itself-we will write as a way of reading-not only that, but we will make art as part of our reading process.

Our art making will stem from workshops in bookbinding, fine printing, artists' books, and design, and through these techniques we will translate the art of reading program texts into myriad forms, proving that the organism that literature demands is, as Mallarmé writes, "divine and intricate." For us, the art of the book will become an umbrella concept that links writers with binders with printers with artists with readers.

The regular work of this program will include the following: lectures on literary concepts and aspects of book arts; focused seminars and workshops on weekly readings of core texts and related essays; weekly assignments related to studio workshops in binding, letterpress printing, artists' books, or design (students will choose focus areas); and weekly creative or critical writing assignments. In addition to this work, students will choose a program text upon which to base a final project consisting of analytical writing and creative work that exploits the interdisciplinary possibilities of the book arts.