A Maturing Market

The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century


Within just a generation or two of its arrival, print had become a ubiquitous and spirited part of Spain and Portugal’s urban cultures. It serviced an ever-expanding reading public, as well as many and varied practical quotidian needs. Its impact on society was multi-dimensional and complex, and its social reach far broader than the civic or ecclesiastical elites were ever to be entirely comfortable with.
This cross-disciplinary volume of essays focuses on the maturing marketplace for print in the first half of the seventeenth century, shedding new light on some important transformations, with authors and publishers seizing opportunities available to them – negotiating the regulatory efforts of the censors, and scrambling to reconfigure their relationship with their readers.
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Biographical Note

Alexander S. Wilkinson, Ph.D. (2002), University of St Andrews, is Professor of Early Modern History at University College Dublin. He is Director of the UCD Centre for the History of the Media and has published widely on book history.

Alejandra Ulla Lorenzo, Ph.D. (2011), University of Santiago de Compostela, is a Mellon Research Fellow University College Dublin where she manages Iberian Books. She has published on Golden-Age Spanish theatre, especially on Calderón, as well as on the Spanish book trade.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Alexander S. Wilkinson

Part 1
Surveys of the Book Trade
1 A Maturing Market: The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century
Alexander S. Wilkinson
2 Printing in Antwerp in the Early Seventeenth Century and Its Connections with the Iberian World
César Manrique Figueroa
3 The Importation of Books into New Spain During the Seventeenth Century
Idalia García
4 Women and the Iberian Book Trade, 1472–1650
Alejandra Ulla Lorenzo

Part 2
Addressing the Reader in Golden-Age Spain
5 The Book-Reader Relationship in Golden-Age Spain: Reading Practices and the Publishing Industry in Don Quixote
Sarah Malfatti
6 ‘Reasons of State for Any Author’: Common Sense, Translation, and the International Republic of Letters
José María Pérez Fernández
7 Writing Literature for Publication, 1605–1637
Esther Villegas de la Torre

Part 3
The Stage in Print
8 Printed Plays in Early Modern Spain
Don Cruickshank
9 Cervantes’s Ocho comedias: From the Pen to the Print-Shop
John O’Neill
10 Printing Licenses and the Trade in Fiction in Spain in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century
Manuel Calderón Calderón

Part 4
Market Specialisms: Chivalric Literature, Medicine and the News
11 Printing Books of Chivalry in Portugal at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century
Aurelio Vargas Díaz-Toledo
12 Medical Publishing in Portugal in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century: A Good Business?
Hervé Baudry
13 The Golden Age of the Single Event Printed Newsletter: Relaciones de sucesos, 1601–1650
Henry Ettinghausen
14 ‘Things Worthy of Being Known’: The Reception and Consumption of the Press in Catalonia During the First Half of the Seventeenth
Ricard Expósito Amagat



All interested in Golden-Age Spain and Portugal or those with a comparative interest in the early-modern European book trade.