CfP: Institutions and book market during the Early Modern period: between regulation and promotion
The invention of the printing press in Europe by the mid-15th century was a major milestone for European culture. One of the consequences of this technological innovation was the expansion of the book market acquiring very soon a global dimension. The internationalisation of the market was leaded by distribution network of relevant printers and booksellers, responsible for the connection of distant places. Along with these, local producers and merchant coexisted and played a significant role.
Nevertheless, in order to understand the behaviour of these agents, another important factor must be taken into consideration: the production and commercialisation of books was affected not only by market dynamics, but also by the intervention of civil and ecclesiastical institutions. It is well known that books were protected, and at the same time, closely monitored by the authorities aware of the dangers associated with their consumption and distribution. This phenomenon is attested in Catholic and in Protestant Europe, where despite the conventional wisdom, politics regarding books and readings were often very similar.
Printers and booksellers lived in a politically fragmented world where religious boundaries often shifted. The changing institutional settings contributed to shape relationships in the book market. Some book agents were persecuted and punished by the authorities, while others cooperated with them (willingly or forced by circumstances), and not a few moved in a grey area, which allowed them to dodge
danger and thrive in business.
The aim of this conference is to analyse the interactions between those who produced and commercialised books (printers, merchants and booksellers) and the authorities, national or local, civil or religious, during the Early Modern period. Our target is to analyse the incentives and barriers faced by book agents to develop their activity and expand their business networks.
We accept papers that deal with these issues. Among potential research topics we include: