Lost Books

Reconstructing the Print World of Pre-Industrial Europe


Volume Editors: and
Questions of survival and loss bedevil the study of early printed books. Many early publications are not particularly rare, but others have disappeared altogether. This is clear not only from the improbably large number of books that survive in only one copy, but from many references in contemporary documents to books that cannot now be located. In this volume leading specialists in the field explore different aspects of this poorly understood aspect of book history: classes of texts particularly impacted by poor rates of survival; lost books revealed in contemporary lists or inventories; the collections of now dispersed libraries; deliberate and accidental destruction. A final section describes modern efforts at salvage and restitution following the devastation of the twentieth century.
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Flavia Bruni is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Rome La Sapienza and a Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews. She is responsible for the survey of seventeenth-century Italian editions for the Universal Short Title Catalogue and currently working on her second monograph on censorship in Counter-Reformation Italy (forthcoming).

Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He is the author of over a dozen books in the fields of Reformation history and the history of communication. His new projects include a study of Newspaper Advertising in the Low Countries and ‘Preserving the World’s Rarest Books’, a collaborative project with libraries funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“This is a rewarding and important book”.
David McKitterick, Trinity College, Cambridge. In: Library & Information History, Vol. 33, No. 2 (2017), pp. 145-146.

“Pettegree’s introduction, ‘The Legion of the Lost’ is a full-length essay discussing not only how books become lost but how one can know about what has been lost. It is accessible and engaging and would be a worthy reading assignment for undergraduates or masters students studying book history.”
Iona Hine, The University of Sheffield. Reviewed for Linguistic DNA [10 January 2017].
1. Andrew Pettegree, The Legion of the Lost. Recovering the Lost Books of Early Modern Europe.

Part I: In the Beginning: lost incunabula

2. Falk Eisermann, The Gutenberg Galaxy’s Dark Matter: Lost Incunabula, and Ways to Retrieve Them
3. Jonathan Green and Frank McIntyre, Lost Incunable Editions: Closing In on an Estimate

Part II: National Case-studies

4. Iain Fenlon, Lost Book of Polyphony from Renaissance Spain
5. Wolfgang Undorf, Lost Books, Lost Libraries, Lost Everything? A Scandinavian Early Modern Perspective
6. Justyna Kiliańczyk-Zięba, In Search of Lost Fortuna. Reconstructing the Publishing History of the Polish Book of Fortune-Telling
7. Alexandra Hill, Lost Print in England: Entries in the Stationers’ Company Register, 1557-1640
8. Goran Proot, Survival factors of seventeenth-century hand-press books published in the Southern Netherlands: The importance of sheet counts, Sammelbände and the role of institutional collections
9. Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree, Publicity and its Uses. Lost Books as Revealed in Newspaper Advertisements in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic
10. Domenico Ciccarello, Lost Books and Dispersed Libraries in Sicily during the Seventeenth Century

Part III: Censorship and its consequences

11. Christine Benevent and Malcolm Walsby, Lost Issues and Self-Censorship: Rethinking the Publishing History of Guillaume Budé’s De l’Institution du Prince
12. Michele Camaioni, The Editorial History of a Rare and Forbidden Franciscan Book of Italian Renaissance: the Dialogo della Unione Spirituale di Dio con l’anima by Bartolomeo Cordoni
13. Rosa Marisa Borraccini, An Unknown Bestseller: the Confessionario of Girolamo da Palermo
14. Roberto Rusconi, The Devil’s Trick. Impossible Editions in the Lists of Titles from the Regular Orders in Italy at the End of the Sixteenth Century
15. Giovanna Granata, On the Track of Lost Editions in Italian Religious Libraries at the End of the Sixteenth Century: a Numerical Analysis of the RICI Database

Part IV. Libraries, private and public

16. Anna Giulia Cavagna, Loss and Meaning. Lost Books, Bibliographic Description and Significance in a Sixteenth-Century Italian Private Library
17. Martine van Ittersum, Confiscated Manuscripts and Books: What Happened to the Personal Library and Archive of Hugo Grotius Following His Arrest on Charges of High Treason in August 1618?
18. Maria Teresa Biagetti, Dispersed collections of scientific books: the case of the private library of Federico Cesi (1585-1630)
19. Alison Walker, Lost in Plain Sight: Rediscovering the Library of Sir Hans Sloane
20. Mark Towsey, Book Use and Sociability in Lost Libraries of the Eighteenth Century: Towards a Union Catalogue

Part V: War and Peace: the depredations of modern times

21. Jan L. Alessandrini, Lost Books of ‘Operation Gomorrah’: Rescue, Reconstruction, and Restitution at Hamburg’s Library in the Second World War
22. Tomasz Nastulczyk, Two Centuries of Looting and the Grand Nazi Book Burning. The Dispersed and Destroyed Libraries of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Historical Losses and Contemporary Attempts at Reconstruction
23. Flavia Bruni, All is not Lost. Italian Archives and Libraries in the Second World War
24. Saskia Limbach, Tracing Lost Broadsheet Ordinances Printed in Sixteenth-Century Cologne

Scholars of early modern history, literature and religion, students of bibliography, book history. Advanced level undergraduates and postgraduate students with interest in these fields, members of the antiquarian book trade.
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