July 6-31, 2009; Newberry Library, Chicago
This NEH summer seminar for college and university teachers will explore music books produced in Europe between 1500 and 1700. The seminar will engage with the history of books and readers, and with the social and cultural history of performance. Recent scholarship on the history of the book emphasizes the book object as a space for cultural performance at all levels, from the "how-to" manual to a source for philosophical speculation. Like many book objects, music books are by their nature performative, not only as records of performances (real or imagined), but also as guides or prescriptions for behavior, and as indicators of wider cultural patterns and concerns.
The seminar will meet for four weeks, and will consist of discussion sessions, show-and-tell sessions of rare books, and weekly "cocktails and music making sessions." Under the guidence of the co-directors, participants will be expected to carry out individual research projects using The Newberry's collection of early modern music books and related texts. Participants will be assigned research carrels and and will have all the privilages of a scholar in residence.
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