Vernacular Books and Their Readers in the Early Age of Print (c. 1450–1600)


'The Open Access publishing costs of this volume were covered by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), Veni-project “Leaving a Lasting Impression. The Impact of Incunabula on Late Medieval Spirituality, Religious Practice and Visual Culture in the Low Countries” (grant number 275-30-036).'

This volume explores various approaches to study vernacular books and reading practices across Europe in the 15th-16th centuries. Through a shared focus on the material book as an interface between producers and users, the contributors investigate how book producers conceived of their target audiences and how these vernacular books were designed and used. Three sections highlight connections between vernacularity and materiality from distinct perspectives: real and imagined readers, mobility of texts and images, and intermediality. The volume brings contributions on different regions, languages, and book types into dialogue.

Contributors include Heather Bamford, Tillmann Taape, Stefan Matter, Suzan Folkerts, Karolina Mroziewicz, Martha W. Driver, Alexa Sand, Elisabeth de Bruijn, Katell Lavéant, Margriet Hoogvliet, and Walter S. Melion.
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Anna Dlabačová, Ph.D. (2014), is Associate Professor at Leiden University and PI of the project ‘Pages of Prayer: The Ecosystem of Vernacular Prayer Books in the Late Medieval Low Countries, c. 1380-1550’ (ERC Starting Grant).

Andrea van Leerdam, Ph.D., is a book historian at Utrecht University with a particular interest in the materiality of early printed books, early modern reading practices, and visual culture. She has previously worked as a humanities communications advisor.

John J. Thompson is Professor emeritus at Queen’s University, Belfast and honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. He has written widely on late medieval and Early Modern English book history with a particular focus on significant transitional episodes in pre and post Reformation English textual cultures.
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors

Anna Dlabačová and Andrea van Leerdam

Part 1: Real and Imagined Readers

1 Reading Magic in Early Modern Iberia
Heather Bamford

2 Vernacular Readers of Medicine: Imagined Audiences and Material Traces of Reading in Hieronymus Brunschwig’s Distillation Books
Tillmann Taape

3 The Hortulus animae – An Archive of Medieval Prayer Book Literature
Stefan Matter

4 Printers’ Strategies and Readers’ Responses: Vernacular Editions of the Deventer Printers Richard Pafraet and Jacob van Breda
Suzan Folkerts

5 Personalizing Universal History: Noblemen’s Responses to the Polish-Language Chronicle of the Whole World by Marcin Bielski
Karolina Mroziewicz

Part 2: Mobility of Texts and Images

6 The Schoolroom in Early English Illustration
Martha W. Driver

7 Moving Pictures: The Art and Craft of Dying Well in the Woodcuts of Wynkyn de Worde
Alexa Sand

8 Catering to Different Tastes: Western-European Romance in the Earliest Decades of Printing
Elisabeth de Bruijn

Part 3: Intermediality

9 Moveable Types of Merry Monsters: Joyful Literature on Paper and on the Walls
Katell Lavéant

10 Pour ce fault morir en vivant: Medieval Humanist Readings of Text and Images in Pierre Michault’s Danse aux aveugles
Margriet Hoogvliet

11 Meditating the Unbearable in a Fifteenth-Century Netherlandish Manuscript Prayerbook with Printed Images
Walter S. Melion

Afterword: Making an End of the Beginnings of Early Printing in Western Europe
John J. Thompson

Index Nominum
Scholars and students interested in early printed books in Europe, vernacular book production, readers and reading practices, and in interdisciplinary approaches to the materiality of print. Keywords: printing, materiality, incunabula, manuscript and print, late medieval period, early modern period, reading practices, image-text relations, European vernaculars, print market, reception study, text and images.
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