date_range Débute le 21 septembre 2015
event_note Se termine le 28 septembre 2015
list 1 séquence
assignment Niveau : Introductif
chat_bubble_outline Langue : Anglais
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Les infos clés

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En résumé

This module of The Book: Histories Across Time and Space focuses on the physical qualities of books, the role of books in 17th and 18th century France, and the emergence of literature as a modern form of culture.

We will focus on the importance of books as physical objects and the raw material of literature--namely, paper.  By considering the nature of paper and how it was made during the early modern period--from Gutenberg's time to the early nineteenth century--we can begin to understand the character of books and the way they worked.

This module also examines how books fit into the legal and political system of France under the Old Regime during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the French set standards imitated throughout Europe.  Before modern copyright, legal books had privileges, granted by the king, which provided a guarantee of quality as well as certification of   orthodoxy.  To qualify for a privilege, books had to be approved by censors.  Uncensored books, including most of the works of the Enlightenment, were usually produced outside France and circulated in the kingdom through a vast underground distribution system. 

In addition, this module addresses the emergence of literature as a modern form of culture, which can be studied best in eighteenth-century England.  The first copyright law (1710), a high rate of literacy, a booming consumer market, a precocious periodical industry, and entrepreneurial publishing concentrated in London led to the development of a new kind of author--the independent writer. Samuel Johnson epitomized this new phenomenon. This module will allow you to get a close look at him and everything he represented by providing access to the Hyde Collection of Johnson's books and papers in Houghton Library at Harvard.


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HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.

Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact harvardx@harvard.edu and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.

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Le programme

  • The importance of books as physical objects 
  • The construction of books 
  • The role of legal books in 17th and 18th century France 
  • The subversive role of illegal books in 17th and 18th century France 
  • The circumstances surrounding emergence of literature as a modern form of culture
  • The early stages of copyright law and an the development of the independent writer
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Les intervenants

  • Robert Darnton
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Le concepteur

L’université Harvard (Harvard University), ou plus simplement Harvard, est une université privée américaine située à Cambridge, ville de l'agglomération de Boston, dans le Massachusetts. Fondée le 28 octobre 1636, c'est le plus ancien établissement d'enseignement supérieur des États-Unis.

Elle fait partie de l'Ivy League, regroupement informel des huit universités de la côte Est des États-Unis. Plus de 70 de ses étudiants ont reçu un prix Nobel. Le corps enseignant est constitué de 2 497 professeurs, pour 6 715 étudiants de premier cycle (undergraduate, en anglais) et 12 424 étudiants de cycle supérieur (graduate en anglais). Harvard attire des étudiants du monde entier (132 nationalités représentées en 2004).

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La plateforme

EdX est une plateforme d'apprentissage en ligne (dite FLOT ou MOOC). Elle héberge et met gratuitement à disposition des cours en ligne de niveau universitaire à travers le monde entier. Elle mène également des recherches sur l'apprentissage en ligne et la façon dont les utilisateurs utilisent celle-ci. Elle est à but non lucratif et la plateforme utilise un logiciel open source.

EdX a été fondée par le Massachusetts Institute of Technology et par l'université Harvard en mai 2012. En 2014, environ 50 écoles, associations et organisations internationales offrent ou projettent d'offrir des cours sur EdX. En juillet 2014, elle avait plus de 2,5 millions d'utilisateurs suivant plus de 200 cours en ligne.

Les deux universités américaines qui financent la plateforme ont investi 60 millions USD dans son développement. La plateforme France Université Numérique utilise la technologie openedX, supportée par Google.

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