Introduction to Bibliography

Course Organiser: Dr Andrew Zurcher
3-7 July

This course aims to give students an introduction to the various elements of bibliography and to set those elements within their appropriate historical and methodological contexts. It will examine the different forms of the book from manuscript through its development in its various printed forms and introduce students to the forms of bibliographical enquiry and their associated terminology and implications.

Course Outline


1 An Introduction to an Introduction to Bibliography
2 Printed Books I


3 Printed Books II
4 Printed Books III
5 Textual Bibliography I



6 Textual Bibliography II
7 Textual Bibliography III
8 Descriptive Bibliography


9 Descriptive BIbliography II
10 Descriptive Bibliography III
11 Bibliography and the Book Trade I


12 Bibliography and the Book Trade II
13 Student Projects

Outcomes for Students

  • Acquire grounding in the terminology of the book in its manuscript and printed forms.
  • Develop an understanding of the techniques involved in the publication of the book in its manuscript and printed forms.
  • Understand the methods and purposes of descriptive bibliography.
  • Acquire knowledge of the tools and techniques of enumerative and analytical bibliography.
  • Gain a basic grasp of editorial techniques and related issues.

Required Reading

Bowers, Fredson, Principles of Bibliographical Description (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949) (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986)
Gaskell, Philip, A New Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972)
Greetham, D. C., Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992) 

Recommended Introductory Reading

Abbott, C. and W.P. Williams, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies (New York: MLA, 1989)
Bowers, Fredson, Bibliography and Textual Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964)
Greetham, David, Scholarly Editing: A Guide to Research (New York: MLA, 1995)
Tanselle, G. T., Literature and Artifacts (Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1998)
Thorpe, James, Principles of Textual Criticism (Huntington Library, 1972)


Dr Andrew Zurcher is a fellow, tutor, and Director of Studies in English at Queens’ College, Cambridge. His research to date has focused on early modern law, poetry, and drama, and especially the works of Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton. In addition to monographs on Spenser (Spenser’s Legal Language, 2007) and Shakespeare (Shakespeare and Law, 2009), he has a longstanding interest in manuscript studies and textual editing, and is currently completing two editorial projects – the works of Spenser, and Sir Thomas Browne’s letters, both for Oxford University Press.