Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A visit by USF Students of the Renaissance Book

Professor Helena Szépe, standing at left in the Tampa Book
Arts Studio Library, guides her students as they begin their
“Printed Books ‘Field’ Notes” for printed leaves of the fif-
teenth and sixteenth centuries from our TBAS collections.
They say that the printed page comes to life in the mind of a reader, but sometimes a whole group can bring special life to the page. We saw this first-hand recently at the Tampa Book Arts Studio when pages from books printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries on the other side of the world—mostly in Latin—began to speak to a twenty-first century seminar.

Professor Helena Szépe of the University of South Florida, who researches and teaches on books of the Renaissance era, with a focus on illustration, both in manuscript and print, brought her talented, perceptive graduate and advanced undergraduate students to visit the Studio to see some of the basics of typesetting and printing by hand and to examine selected leaves from early printed books held in our Tampa Book Arts Studio Library collections.

Prof. Szépe’s seminar this semester is entitled “The Renaissance Book,” and she and her students are exploring how these early printed pages helped shape nearly every aspect of life and culture, from economic transactions to technology, medicine, education, and art. They are studying leaves from many different types of books, from many countries, but she has focused her students on one undertaking especially—a publication known as the Nuremberg Chronicle that attempted to print all knowledge and history known at the time. It was a kind of Wikipedia of the age.

“The central research project I’ve developed is for the students to look at the various leaves from Nuremberg Chronicle editions which are spread across the Tampa Bay area” Prof. Szépe says, “to figure out from which edition each is from, from where in the book, and to contextualize them further in various ways.”

She has developed a detailed format of five pages as a worksheet of “Printed Books ‘Field’ Notes.” It has students making notes about the “opening line” printed on the page, details of page dimensions, columns, number of lines per page, foliation and pagination, and much more.

Photos from the day by graduate Art History student Shanna Goodwin help show the story:

Richard Mathews, TBAS Director, speaking about early printing and casting

TBAS Associate Joshua G. Steward assists as students
and Prof. Szépe ink and print a keepsake on a handpress.

Special thanks to Shanna Goodwin for her photos!


Dion said...

That's a neat piece of history, must be a real interesting seminar.

Erin Barnett said...

It's amazing how much printing had an influence on society back then. Looks like a really interesting event.

Clearwater Attorney said...

It's great that with today's technology students are still learning hands on about where it all began.

zerry ht said...

Well that seems to be an interesting as well knowledgeable event. I like to attend such events, and recently I attended an event at famous venues of Chicago. I went there with my fiancé and both of us came to know about so many new things.