In this section, former student, Theodore Mouratidis, shares that his experience in 21H.141 Renaissance to Revolution: Europe, 1300-1800 prepared him to fully engage with the course material in 21H.343J / CC.120J Making Books: The Renaissance and Today. He also discusses how building the printing press in “Making Books” shaped his understanding of the process involved in producing script.
Taking “Renaissance to Revolution” before “Making Books”
I greatly enjoy the way Professor Ravel teaches his classes. I took his course, 21H.141 Renaissance to Revolution: Europe, 1300-1800, in Spring 2015 and it was completely different from any other history class I had taken; instead of going through a typical historical timeline with key events and key battles, we analyzed the changing thought and philosophy in society during the Renaissance era.
I found that my experience in 21H.141 Renaissance to Revolution: Europe, 1300-1800 was a perfect prelude for engaging in 21H.343J / CC.120J Making Books: The Renaissance and Today. Through analysis of primary sources and secondary analyses of the impact of printing through Europe, we engaged in intellectual discussions which unveiled the true effect of the press during the Renaissance. Even more interesting was learning about the relationship between the manuscript and the book.
Building the Printing Press
I believe the incorporation of building a press was an ingenious idea. As MIT students, we are used to having our head in the books, but this was a fantastic way of making this class also slightly relaxing and extremely enjoyable. Through assembling and using the printing press, we were able to understand the process of producing script. That is, of course, after the painstaking process of putting the block print together!
The future of this class is difficult to comment on. Creating another press would not add the same level of excitement because it has already been done. Certainly, the new students would love it, but where would you put all the new presses!?