Commerce and Print in the Early Reformation


Author: John Fudge
Communications and the spread of nonconformist views were key to the spiritual upheaval that gripped many parts of northern Europe in the 1520s. Emphasising economic and cultural hegemony, this book explores the transmission of innovation through networks of trade. Interrelated themes include commercial typography, legal and illicit book distribution, espionage, and censorship. These are elaborated through a series of episodes involving printers and patrician oligarchs, spies and fugitives, and pamphleteers and entrepreneurs. The accent on commerce and print broadens the interpretive scope for study of the early Reformation beyond national, political, or exclusively religious contexts. It also leads to a reassessment of some conventional assumptions about merchants as distributors of Scripture texts and reformist propaganda.

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John D. Fudge is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh (PhD. 1989) and author of Cargoes, Embargoes, and Emissaries: The Commercial and Political Interaction of England and the German Hanse, 1450-1510 (Toronto, 1995). He lectures in European history at Corpus Christi College, Vancouver.
List of Maps and Illustrations .. vii
Abbreviations .. ix

Prologue .. 1

Chapter One: Commerce, Books, and Decrees .. 9
Communications and the Merchants’ Domain .. 10
Commercial Typography—Paris, Antwerp, and Paternoster Row .. 19
Mercantile Networks and Printing—Germany and Beyond .. 27
Jurisdictions and Censorship—The Empire and the Baltic region .. 37
Heresies and Institutional Response—France, the Low Countries, and England .. 58

Chapter Two: Bonfires and Threatening Words .. 75
Penance at Paul’s Cross .. 76
Steelyard Merchants and their Books .. 82
Commercial Contacts and the Tides of Reform .. 88
A Surreptitious Trade? .. 107
Brokers of Ideas .. 115

Chapter Three: Diplomacy and Espionage .. 129
A Town Marvellously Corrupt .. 130
Vernacular Scriptures and Scurrilous Propaganda .. 139
Fugitives and Entrepreneurs .. 150
Ambassador Hackett and the Lords of Antwerp .. 164
Timely Intelligence and Doubtful Resolve .. 172

Chapter Four: Subversion and Prosecution .. 183
Contraband, Scholars, and Christian Brethren .. 184
Young Men of Virtue and Good Letters .. 197
Law, Judgement, and Punishment .. 206
Circles of Diffusion .. 220
Coercion and Betrayal .. 225
Exiles .. 233

Epilogue .. 245

Bibliography .. 257

Index of Books and Pamphlets .. 273
Index of Persons .. 275
General Index .. 283
This book will appeal to readers interested in 16th-century print culture and the dissemination of early reformist literature. It is particularly relevant to Reformation studies and the history of trade and communications.