Simon C. Thomson
Katell Lavéant and Malcolm Walsby
Between 1508 and 1522, the Burgundian author Nicaise Ladam produced three pieces of topical poetry that not only circulated in manuscript form, but were published in five different editions. They each deal with a single contemporary event: a peace treaty, the imperial election of Charles v and the siege of Rhodes by the Ottomans. As such, they belong to a larger corpus of texts dealing with the news, but they have a different status from the majority of them, as topical poetic pieces that presented both news and Ladam’s own commentary.
Analysing the books in which these poems were printed allows us to study the communication strategies of their author and his publishers, and their possible impact on the audiences they addressed. Seen in this light, Ladam’s poetry and the context of its publication offers intriguing evidence of how news was interpreted and celebrated in the early sixteenth century.
This article concentrates on a manuscript that the calligrapher Esther Inglis (1571-1624) dedicated to Maurice of Nassau (1567-1625) in 1599. She was of Huguenot descent and lived in Edinburgh. He was heavily involved in the Dutch Revolt. During her lifetime she produced a number of gift books, of which some 60 are still extant, usually religious in content, written in a variety of hands, carefully decorated and bound, their size sometimes not much larger than a matchbox. They were offered to high placed persons within the circle of the Scottish and English courts, in the hope of a reward. In 1599, however, she decided to present a booklet to Maurice. Why? This article traces Maurice’s role in the Protestant cause as the main reason for the manuscript’s production, shows the influence of Dutch propaganda prints in its decoration and looks at how it could have reached Maurice.
The Genevan printer and bookseller Jean-Louis Dufour (1656-89) had a brief career, interrupted abruptly by a bankruptcy. He succeeded nevertheless during the first three years of his activity in finding his place in the world of the Geneva book trade. By adopting an original policy in the management of his activity, Dufour published various Latin translations, which at the time was the lingua franca of scholars and intellectuals in Europe. Among these translations we find the famous masterpiece of Nicolas Malebranche, De la Recherche de la vérité. The present study explores the history of this printer, his business strategies and his intellectual preferences through two main documents: a book sale catalogue of 1683 and the inventory of vacant goods established after his bankruptcy. In addition, this study devotes special attention to Dufour’s translation of De la Recherche de la vérité to show how this initiative contributed to the spread of Malebranche’s philosophy.