Why study the History of the Book at the Institute of English Studies?

There is no such thing as a typical IES student. Our programmes attract people from a wide range of backgrounds, careers and interests, and for many different reasons. For some students it presents the perfect opportunity to combine a love of history and literature, and pursue careers in research and academia. For others it can be a fantastic gateway into a career in the rare books trade or publishing. And for some it represents a complete change of direction, and the chance to begin an entirely new academic challenge unrelated to their previous studies and careers. 

The Institute of English Studies has a substantial network of colleagues and contacts in the rare books industry, and we now give MA students the option of substituting one of their modules for a book trade internship. We understand the importance of connecting the theoretical world of book history with tangible sources and practical opportunities for our students, and several of a graduates have gone on to have fruitful careers in the book industry. To find out more about this internship, please click here. 

Over on the Institute of English Studies Blog, you can read two interviews with past students, Alex Wingate and Bonnie Walker, on why they chose to study book history at IES. 

London is probably the perfect place to study the history of the book! ...We’ve had classes at the British Library and other book-related institutions where we got to go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with rare, antique books, some over a thousand years old.

 Bonnie Walker, 2016

Being in this program is an important step along the way to becoming a rare books librarian because it means that I will be able to more deeply understand the collections I eventually work with. That ability to look at a book – manuscript, print, or digital – and be able to recognize the work that went into its creation (the materials used, the style, whose hands it passed through, etc.) is really special to me.

Alex Wingate, 2018

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