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This contribution discusses the hitherto overlooked ownership of the earliest printed books (incunabula) by Netherlandish female religious communities of tertiaries and canonesses regular connected to the religious reform movement of the Devotio moderna. Studies of book ownership and book collections in these communities have tended to focus on manuscripts. From the last decades of the fifteenth century onwards, however, these religious women increasingly came in contact with printed books, even though the involvement of the Devotio moderna with the printing press was limited. The discussion focuses on the channels via which tertiaries and canonesses acquired books produced by commercially operating printers, the ways in which incunabula affected what these (semi-)religious women read, as well as the ratio between printed books in Latin and the vernacular, and their function(s) within these communities. Thus the essay intends to sketch a preliminary image of the role of incunabula in female convents, and advocates a more inclusive approach of female religious book ownership.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
Author: Ina Kok


This article discusses and reproduces a unique copy of a hitherto unknown Dutch incunable. It was recovered at a Belgian auction after 164 years and bought by the Athenaeum Library in Deventer, the Netherlands. Thus, the book returned to the city where it was printed by Jacobus de Breda, between 27 October 1495 and 16 April 1496.

In: Quaerendo
Editor: Richard Gameson
The Manuscript World investigates the forms, functions and impact of books, individually and collectively, in their cultural contexts, from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Extending from the era of roll books, through that of the monastic scriptorium and then on, via the age of professional scribes and illuminators serving scholars and princes, to the point when manuscript-makers were responding to the challenge of printing, this long period embraces a sequence of profound changes in the nature of the book. The Manuscript World accordingly explores the many roles of the hand-written book in all its manifestations, across more than a millennium of human history.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to either the series editor, Professor Richard Gameson or the Publisher at Brill, Dr Kate Hammond.

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Print Culture at the Crossroads investigates how the spread of printing shaped a distinctive literary culture in Central Europe during the early modern period. Moving beyond the boundaries of the nation state, twenty-five scholars from over a dozen countries examine the role of the press in a region characterised by its many cultures, languages, religions, and alphabets. Antitrinitarians, Roman and Greek Catholics, Calvinists, Jews, Lutherans, and Orthodox Christians used the press to preserve and support their communities. By examining printing and patronage networks, catalogues, inventories, woodblocks, bindings, and ownership marks, this volume reveals a complicated web of connections linking printers and scholars, Jews and Christians, across Central Europe and beyond.
Author: John Tholen
Printers in the early modern Low Countries produced no fewer than 152 editions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. John Tholen investigates what these editions can tell us about the early modern application of the popular ancient text. Analysis of paratexts shows, for example, how editors and commentators guide readers to Ovid’s potentially subversive contents. Paratextual infrastructures intended to create commercial credibility, but simultaneously were a response to criticism of reading the Metamorphoses. This book combines two often separated fields of research: book history and reception studies. It provides a compelling case study of how investigation into the material contexts of ancient texts sheds new light on early modern receptions of antiquity.