A holistic introduction to the study of children’s books, examining the book as a physical object with a focus on rarity. Children are hard on their books, many of which survive only a single generation. Additionally, until the last century, copyright deposit libraries did not especially value the acquisition of books published for children, while books from earlier periods, produced for a cheap popular market or published under wartime conditions may be especially scarce. Examining a range of early and modern rare children’s books through the lenses of publishing, authorship, illustration, design, printing and reception, this course addresses the following: What constitutes a children’s book? For how many centuries have children’s books been published and marketed? How has their evolution been affected by factors such as religious and educational ideas and practices or cultural norms in a given period? Who has written, purchased or read them?
London - with its long history of book production, its role as one of the world’s major publishing centres, its famous libraries, museums, archives, and antiquarian bookshops - is the ideal place in which to study the history of the book. And the London Rare Books School (LRBS) is one of the world’s leading institutions in this field. In June and July 2016 London Rare Books Schools once again offers a series of five-day, intensive courses on a variety of book-related subjects to be taught in and around Senate House which is the centre of the University of London's federal system.
The courses are taught by internationally renowned scholars, including the ILAB affiliates and ABA members Angus O’Neill and Laurence Worms, using the unrivalled library and museum resources of London, including the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Senate House Libraries, and many more. Each course consists of thirteen seminars amounting in all to twenty hours of teaching time spread between Monday lunchtime and Friday afternoon. In small groups of no more than 12 participants, the students have plenty of opportunity to talk to the teachers and to get very close to the books. All courses stress the materiality of the book, so students will have close encounters with remarkable books and manuscripts and other artefacts from some of the world's greatest collections. There will also be timetabled 'library time' that will allow students to explore the rich resources of the University's Senate House Library, one of the UK's major research libraries.