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Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans

Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece

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Carter Vaughn Findley

Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau général de l’Empire othoman offered the Enlightenment Republic of Letters its most authoritative work on Islam and the Ottomans, also a practical reference work for kings and statesmen. Profusely illustrated and opening deep insights into illustrated book production in this period, this is also the richest collection of visual documentation on the Ottomans in a hundred years. Shaped by the author’s personal struggles, the work yet commands recognition in its own totality as a monument to inter-cultural understanding. In form one of the great taxonomic works of Enlightenment thought, this is a work of advocacy in the cause of reform and amity among France, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire.

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Edited by Dagmar Vandebosch and Theo D'haen

Goethe in 1827 famously claimed that national literatures did not mean very much anymore, and that the epoch of world literature was at hand. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, in the so-called "transnational turn" in literary studies, interest in world literature, and in how texts move beyond national or linguistic boundaries, has peaked. The authors of the 18 articles making up Literary Transnationalism(s) reflect on how literary texts move between cultures via translation, adaptation, and intertextual referencing, thus entering the field of world literature. The texts and subjects treated range from Caribbean, American, and Latin American literature to European migrant literatures, from the uses of pseudo-translations to the organizing principles of world histories of literature, from the dissemination of knowledge in the middle ages to circulation of literary journals and series in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Contributors include, amongst others, Jean Bessière, Johan Callens, Reindert Dhondt, César Domínguez, Erica Durante, Ottmar Ette, Kathleen Gyssels, Reine Meylaerts, and Djelal Kadir. Authors discussed comprise, amongst others, Carlos Fuentes, Ernest Hemingway, Edouard Glissant.

Early Modern Media and the News in Europe

Perspectives from the Dutch Angle

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Joop W. Koopmans

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Dutch Republic was one of the main centers of media in Europe. These media included newspapers, pamphlets, news digests, and engravings. Early Modern Media and the News in Europe brings together fifteen articles dealing with this early news industry in relation to politics and society, written by Joop W. Koopmans in recent decades. They demonstrate the important Dutch position within early modern news networks in Europe. Moreover, they address a variety of related themes, such as the supply of news during wars and disasters, the speed of early modern news reports, the layout of early newspapers and the news value of their advertisements, and censorship of books and news media.

Communal Creativity in the Making of the 'Beowulf' Manuscript

Towards a History of Reception for the Nowell Codex

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Simon C. Thomson

In Communal Creativity in the Making of the ‘Beowulf’ Manuscript, Simon Thomson analyses details of scribal activity to tell a story about the project that preserved Beowulf as one of a collective, if error-strewn, endeavour and arguing for a date in Cnut’s reign. He presents evidence for the use of more than three exemplars and at least two artists as well as two scribes, making this an intentional and creative re-presentation uniting literature religious and heroic, in poetry and in prose.

He goes on to set it in the broader context of manuscript production in late Anglo-Saxon England as one example among many of communities using old literature in new ways, and of scribes working together, making mistakes, and learning.

Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557-1640

An Analysis of the Stationers' Company Register

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Alexandra Hill

Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557-1640 is the first attempt to analyse systematically the entries relating to lost books in the Stationers’ Company Register. Books played a fundamental role in early modern society and are key sources for our comprehension of the political, religious, economic and cultural aspects of the age. Over time, the loss of these books has presented a significant barrier to our understanding of the past. The monopoly of the Stationers’ Company centralised book production in England to London with printing jobs carried out by members documented in a Register. Using modern digital approaches to bibliography, Alexandra Hill uses the Register to reclaim knowledge of the English book trade and print culture that would otherwise be lost.

Johann Froben, Printer of Basel

A Biographical Profile and Catalogue of His Editions

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Valentina Sebastiani

In Johann Froben, Printer of Basel, Valentina Sebastiani offers a comprehensive account of the life and printing production of Froben, a major representative of early modern Europe’s most refined printing traditions. Some five centuries after they first appeared in print, Sebastiani provides a bibliography of the 329 Froben editions published in Basel between 1491 and 1527 (including an analysis of some 2,500 copies held in more than twenty-five libraries worldwide), listing the paratextual and visual elements that distinguish Froben’s books as well as economic, technical, and editorial details related to their production and distribution. Sebastiani’s study sheds new light on Froben’s family and career, his involvement in the editing and publication of Erasmus’ works, and the strategies he adopted to market them successfully.

Incunabula in Transit

People and Trade

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Lotte Hellinga

Almost half a million books printed in the fifteenth century survive in collections worldwide. In Incunabula in Transit Lotte Hellinga explores how and where they were first disseminated. Propelled by the novel need to market hundreds of books, early printers formed networks with colleagues, engaged agents and traded Latin books over long distances. They adapted presentation to suit the taste of distinct readerships, local and remote. Publishing in vernacular languages required typographical innovations, as the chapter on William Caxton’s Flanders enterprise demonstrates. Eighteenth-century collectors dislodged books from institutions where they had rested since the sales drives of early printers. Erudite and entertaining, Hellinga’s evidence-based approach, linked to historical context, deepens understanding of the trade in early printed books.

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Nicolás Bas Martín

In Spanish Books in the Europe of the Enlightenment (Paris and London) Nicolás Bas examines the image of Spain in eighteenth-century Europe, and in Paris and London in particular. His material has been scoured from an exhaustive interrogation of the records of the book trade. He refers to booksellers’ catalogues, private collections, auctions, and other sources of information in order to reconstruct the country’s cultural image. Rarely have these sources been searched for Spanish books, and never have they been as exhaustively exploited as they are in Bas’ book.
Both England and France were conversant with some very negative ideas about Spain. The Black Legend, dating back to the sixteenth century, condemned Spain as repressive and priest-ridden. Bas shows however, that an alternative, more sympathetic, vision ran parallel with these negative views. His bibliographical approach brings to light the Spanish books that were bought, sold and ultimately read. The impression thus obtained is likely to help us understand not only Spain’s past, but also something of its present.

Arabic Type-Making in the Machine Age

The Influence of Technology on the Form of Arabic Type, 1908–1993

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Titus Nemeth

Arabic is the third most widely used script in the world, and gave rise to one of the richest manuscript cultures of mankind. Its representation in type has engaged printers, engineers, businesses and designers since the 16th century, and today most digital devices render Arabic type. Yet the evolution of the printed form of Arabic, and its development from metal to pixels, has not been charted before. Arabic Type-Making in the Machine Age provides the first comprehensive account of this history using previously undocumented archival sources. In this richly illustrated volume, Titus Nemeth narrates the evolution of Arabic type under the influence of changing technologies from the perspective of a practitioner, combining historical research with applied design considerations.

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Arthur der Weduwen

Winner of the 2019 Menno Hertzberger Encouragement Prize for Book History and Bibliography

In Dutch and Flemish Newspapers of the Seventeenth Century Arthur der Weduwen presents the first comprehensive account of the early newspaper in the Low Countries. Composed of two volumes, this survey provides detailed introductions and bibliographical descriptions of 49 newspapers, surviving in over 16,000 issues in 84 archives and libraries. This work presents a crucial overview of the first fledgling century of newspaper publishing and reading in one of the most advanced political cultures of early modern Europe.

Seventy years after Folke Dahl’s Dutch Corantos first documented early Dutch newspapers, Der Weduwen offers a brand-new approach to the bibliography of the early modern periodical press. This includes, amongst others, a description of places of correspondence listed in each surviving newspaper. The bibliography is accompanied by an extensive introduction of the Dutch and Flemish press in the seventeenth century. What emerges is a picture of a highly competitive and dynamic market for news, in which innovative publishers constantly adapt to the changing tastes of customers and pressures from authorities at home and abroad.