C-60. Examining the Medical Book: History & Connoisseurship
This course seeks to reconcile two entirely different propositions: that medical books (printed and in manuscript) are fundamentally different from other books, and that they are fundamentally the same. To do so, the course will examine the history of medicine from the ancient Egyptians to the present through its written literature; from the papyrus scroll to the modern e-journal and the tablet app.
Medical literature has always pushed the boundaries of technology: in production, in distribution, in its use of illustration processes, and in indexing, to name but a few. Along the way (and sometimes by accident rather than by design), the needs of the medical field to make its discoveries known produced masterpieces of book production as well as landmarks in the history of medicine and the allied health sciences. The role of the journal, the off-print, and the pamphlet will also be discussed in context.
The course will largely draw its examples from the holdings of the medical library at the University of Virginia, but will also include a one-day field trip to the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD. Students will be introduced to the standard bibliographical resources in the field, both in print and online, for purposes of scholarship, connoisseurship, and collection development, but the emphasis of the course will be to promote an integrated appreciation of the development of medicine and the medical book.
Students will be expected to have a general background in the history of the health sciences in the West. Non-Western materials will be discussed but will NOT be a primary focus. In addition, a familiarity with the basic tools of bibliographic analysis, and in particularly illustration processes will be expected. In their personal statements, prospective students should describe briefly their knowledge of medical history and bibliography, and their (or their institution's) collecting and/or research interests.
N.B., The tuition for this course is $1195 owing to the expenses associated with the scheduled field trip.
Stephen Greenberg teaches this course for the first time.