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ENGLISH 17SC: London through Time, Text, and Technology

We have a textual history of London that dates from at least the 1st century BCE, and archaeological evidence of settlement that is even older. For millennia, the city of London has been both a place of textual production and itself the focus of authors' writings. The metropolis has been at the forefront of innovation in the human record (the first printing press in Britain was established in London; the first acoustic telephone, the first computer program, and the first wind-up radio were invented there); it is a space where new languages, new technologies of information, and new stories of the human experience have evolved. This course explores the genesis and long history of the city of London through text, image, and sound. We'll investigate inscribed wooden tablets that predate the Roman invasion of Britain; the manuscripts, printed texts, and performances of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the emergence of musical innovators, like the Beatles and David Bowie; and the awareness of the more »
We have a textual history of London that dates from at least the 1st century BCE, and archaeological evidence of settlement that is even older. For millennia, the city of London has been both a place of textual production and itself the focus of authors' writings. The metropolis has been at the forefront of innovation in the human record (the first printing press in Britain was established in London; the first acoustic telephone, the first computer program, and the first wind-up radio were invented there); it is a space where new languages, new technologies of information, and new stories of the human experience have evolved. This course explores the genesis and long history of the city of London through text, image, and sound. We'll investigate inscribed wooden tablets that predate the Roman invasion of Britain; the manuscripts, printed texts, and performances of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the emergence of musical innovators, like the Beatles and David Bowie; and the awareness of the city's history in contemporary authors' works, like Zadie Smith's The Wife of Willesden. Through these and other primary sources, students will explore the great city of London and its contribution to global text technologies, designing their own text technological study. We'll focus on literary and historical archives, art, sound and image recordings, and the idea of the `city as author', and, circumstances permitting, we'll visit the Huntington Library in Pasadena, as well as working in Stanford University Libraries and the Hoover Archives.
Terms: Sum | Units: 2
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