Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map

Inherited Innovation

Maria Fischer, Traumgedanken (2011)

Inherited Innovation:
Reflecting on the History of the Book in a Digital Age

This course examines the continuities and discontinuities of past and present media. Questions to be considered include: What might the study of mise-en-page teach us about our current experiments in interface design? How do past practices in reading and searching compare with how we navigate today’s paper and digital environments? What is the history of social annotation and how does it inform current initiatives in crowd sourcing and social media? How does our conception of encoding change when situated within the long history of print production?

Rather than separating paper from digital, this course will consider both together, often working with one media in the morning and the other in the afternoon. While students will critically engage with articles, blogs and other secondary literature as they handle rare materials, they will also be given opportunities to build conceptual prototypes based on their learning.

About the Instructor
Scott Schofield is an Assistant Professor of English at Huron University College at Western University, London, Ontario, where he teaches and publishes on the history and the future of the book. His articles include studies on Shakespeare, the digital book and prototyping, and contributions to ArchBook ( In January 2016, he was the Lead Curator for the “Shakespeare 400” exhibition at Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

Advance Readings
This reading list is designed to introduce participants to those articles, chapters, digital archives and apps that connect with key concepts and ideas in the course. Since the proposed course’s trajectory considers both old and new media and the interconnections between the two, this reading list attempts to cover the course’s various threads.

Books, Articles and Web Pages
1. Archbook:
ArchBook offers a methodology and argument that aligns closely with this course’s themes and trajectory. Course participants should therefore start by reading at least two of the following entries from this open-access, peer-reviewed project.
Suggestions include:
Laura Estill, “Commonplace Markers and Quotation Marks”
Brent Nelson, “Table of Contents”
Alan Galey, “Openings”
Amanda Visconti, “Grangerizing”
Paul Werstine, “Variorum Commentary”

2. Galey, Alan, and Stan Ruecker. “How a Prototype Argues,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 25.4 (2010): 405–24.

3. Andrew Piper, “Turning the Page (Roaming, Zooming, Streaming),” in Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, 45–61.

4. Katherine N. Hayles, “How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine,” ADE Bulletin No. 150 (2010), 62–79.

5. Johanna Drucker, “From A to Screen,” in Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Post Print Era. Ed. N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013, 71–96.

6. Stoicheff, Peter, and Andrew Taylor. Introduction to The Future of the Page. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004, 3–25.

7. George Bornstein. “How to Read a Page: Modernism and Material Textuality.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 32, no. 1 (1999), 29–58.

8. Bonnie Mak. Introduction to How the Page Matters. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.

9. Anthony Grafton, “How Guillame Bude Read his Homer,” in Commerce with the Classics: Ancient Books and Renaissance Readers. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997, 135–85.

10. Peter Stallybrass, “The Book as Computer,” Vodcast.

11. David McKitterick, Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, 22–52.

12. David McKitterick. Old Books, New Technologies: The Representation, Conservation and Transformation of Books since 1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, 1–26.

13. Owen Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicholaus Copernicus. London: Penguin, 2004.

Projects, Archives and Apps
14. Amanda Visconti, Infinite Ulysses,

15. New York Public Library. Candide 2.0. A networked edition of Voltaire’s 1759 classic. Produced in Coordination with The Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford,

16. The WasteLand. TouchPress app. Introduction and Preview,

17. Shakespeare Quartos Archive,