English 596k: Descriptive Bibliograph y

Tues and Thurs, 4:00-5:15, ML 402

Fall 2000

This course is intended for graduate students preparing for professional careers in advanced academic librarianship or literary scholarship . Its purpose is to develop a good knowledge of, and good practice of, the analytical bibliographic principles that underlie reliable cataloguing, textual criticism, or basically any other scholarly activity involving early printed books. The focus of t he course will be on hand-press books, in various languages, from the 15th through the 18th century, with some attention to those principles of bibliographic description that apply as well to modern printed editions, to manuscript materials, and even to p resent-day publications in hypertext and other electronic formats or venues.

Students will need to read extensively from pertinent works of such major scholars as W. W. Greg, R. B. McKerrow, Fredson Bowers, Philip Gaskell, and G. Thomas Tanselle, an d to become well acquainted with important, mainstream descriptive bibliographies and catalogues. As for required textbooks, I'll try to keep the cost down. As I write this in April 2000, I foresee requiring Fredson Bowers, Principles of Bibliographi cal Description, with an Introduction by G. Thomas Tanselle (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1994), and possibly one other book. Most of the course, however, will involve the actual practice of descriptive bibliography through individual and collabo rative projects. To the extent possible or practical, we shall work with early printed books in the UA Library's Department of Special Collections.

I belong to the newly-formed Caucus on Grading at the UA, some of whose members have elected to make public their grading histories. My undergraduate grades in all courses for the past five years (through May 2000) have been 41 As, 153 Bs, 164 Cs, 27 Ds, 38 Es, 42 Ws, 6 WPs, 1 Pass, and 1 Fail. My graduate grades in that period have been 44 As, 21 Bs, 2 Cs, no Ds, 4 Es, 4 Ws, and 4 Audits.

Carl T. Berkhout
Department of English
University of Arizona