Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

History of the Scottish Book ENGLANG4039

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course we examine the history of the book in Scotland from the introduction of print to the present day. By means of overviews and specific case-studies, we develop an appreciation of books as material objects and examine the complex relationships between books, authors, publishers and readers at various historical periods. The course includes topics such as the early book trade in Scotland and publishing in the Scottish Enlightenment, and will include visits to GUL Special Collections.


1 x 2hr session per week (comprising 1x1hr lecture; 1x 1hr seminar) over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in English Language and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into English Language, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University 's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

ENGLANG4006 History of the Scottish Book




Examination (90 minutes) - 50%

Written assignment (3000 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ gain an understanding of the history of the book in Scotland from the introduction of print to the present day;

■ develop skills in describing and analysing books as material objects;

■ engage with wider theoretical issues underpinning book history.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ describe the key stages in the history and development of the Scottish book;

■ explain factors which have influenced the development of book production and dissemination in Scotland;

■ analyse books as material objects, deploying appropriate technical vocabulary;

■ use and evaluate existing resources for the study of the book in Scotland;

■ locate the history of the Scottish book in its wider cultural and historical context.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.