Syllabus for Book History and Material Culture

Bokens historia och materiell kultur


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5EN506
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: English A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2020-03-11
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2020
  • Entry requirements:

    120 credits. English A1, B1 and C1, or 90 credits in a language subject or in literary studies.

  • Responsible department: Department of English

Decisions and guidelines

The course is included in the Master's Programme in English.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course students will be able to

  • show understanding of contemporary critical theories and methods in literary studies and the study of material culture
  • show familiarity with a range of key works and terms in the history of the book
  • demonstrate skills in conducting independent research in literary studies
  • show proficiency in the use of critical material in a written literary analysis
  • show a good ability to participate, orally and in writing, in a discussion of literary works in fluent English.


The proliferation of digitized books in the present moment represents the latest stage of a centuries-long transformation of the production, distribution, and reading of books. This course will situate the rise of digital texts in relation to the material histories of books and their readerships as well as to key theoretical works on media networks and literary production. Students will engage with a range of topics within the multidisciplinary field of book history, including publishing history, media theory, textual history, authorship and intellectual property, and the symbolic economy of literary value.


Group sessions. Instruction, class discussions, and examinations are in English. All teaching materials are in English.


Assessment takes the form of a final exam in the form of an essay at the end of the course. The final essay may be replaced by, or complemented with, alternative assessment elements, such as shorter essays assigned during the course, journals, or portfolios. Grades are fail, pass, or pass with distinction.

Students who fail a regular examination will be offered a make-up examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

Students who fail an examination twice have the right to apply to the head of the department for permission to change examiners or examination forms. If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Transitional provisions

Please contact the student counsellor for transitional regulations in connection with changes in the curriculum.

Other directives

If the curriculum or the course literature for a course module is changed, students have the right to be examined on the original curriculum and course literature on three occasions during the following three terms. After these three opportunities, the right normally expires. No other limitations apply regarding the number of examination opportunities.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2022

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Primary texts

Unless otherwise indicated, please use the editions listed.

  • Richardson, Samuel Wakely, Alice Pamela : or Virtue Rewarded

    Oxford University Press, 2008

    Find in the library


  • Austen, Jane; Justice, George. Emma : an authoritative text, contexts, criticism

    4th ed.: New York: W.W. Norton, c2012.

    Find in the library


  • Blake, William Songs of innocence and Songs of experience [Elektronisk resurs]

    Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, [199-?]

    Online facsimile edition at the British Library:

    Find in the library


  • Mofolo, Thomas; Ashton, H.; Gray, Stephen Traveller to the East

    [Modern classics ed.]: London: Penguin, 2007.

    Find in the library


  • Plaatje, Sol T. Gray, Stephen Mhudi

    [New ed.]: London: Heinemann, 1978

    Find in the library


Digital and photocopied material.

Secondary Reading

  • Finkelstein, David; McCleery, Alistair The book history reader

    2. ed.: London: Routledge, 2006


    Find in the library


  • Levy, Michelle; Mole, Tom The Broadview reader in book history

    Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2015


    Find in the library


  • Genette, Gérard Introduction to the Paratext

    Part of:

    New literary history

    Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia, 1969-

    vol. 22 (1991) nr. 2 s. 261-272

    Find in the library


A list of optional supplementary reading will be provided.

Reading list revisions