Maria R. Grasso’s monograph on the twelfth-century illustrated vita of Saint Amand, Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale MS 500, presents new information regarding its contents. The author’s discovery and analysis of a second almost complete set of preliminary drawings beneath another set of the same drawings demonstrates that important alterations were made prior to the execution of the cycle. Grasso’s discussion includes the probable reason for the change: the isolation of the terminating folio depicting the soul of Amand. This important devotional image is the focus of detailed analysis since the soul of Amand rests in the lap of a male figure she convincingly identifies as Christ, an extremely unusual placement for the soul of a saint, demonstrating the creativity of the artists.
This book is the first to date to be dedicated to the circulation of the book as a commodity in the Mamluk sultanate. It discusses the impact of princely patronage on the production of books, the formation and management of libraries in religious institutions, their size and their physical setting. It documents the significance of private collections and their interaction with institutional libraries and the role of charitable endowments (
waqf ) in the life of libraries. The market as a venue of intellectual and commercial exchanges and a production centre is explored with references to prices and fees. The social and professional background of scribes and calligraphers occupies a major place in this study, which also documents the chain of master-calligraphers over the entire Mamluk period. For her study the author relies on biographical dictionaries, chronicles,
waqf documents and manuscripts.
A History of the University Presses in Apartheid South Africa, Elizabeth le Roux examines scholarly publishing history, academic freedom and knowledge production during the apartheid era. Using archival materials, comprehensive bibliographies, and political sociology theory, this work analyses the origins, publishing lists and philosophies of the university presses. The university presses are often associated with anti-apartheid publishing and the promotion of academic freedom, but this work reveals both greater complicity and complexity. Elizabeth le Roux demonstrates that the university presses cannot be considered oppositional – because they did not resist censorship and because they operated within the constraints of the higher education system – but their publishing strategies became more liberal over time.
Recent developments in the cultural history of written culture have omitted the specificity of practices relative to writing that were anchored in colonial contexts. The circulation of manuscripts and books between different continents played a key role in the process of the first globalization from the 16th century onwards. While the European colonial organization mobilised several forms of writing and tried to control the circulation and reception of this material, the very function and meaning of written culture was recreated by the introduction and appropriation of written culture into societies without alphabetical forms of writing. This book explores the extent to which the control over the materiality of writing has shaped the numerous and complex processes of cultural exchange during the early modern period.