Call for Papers: ‘More than meets the page’: Printing Text and Images in Italy, 1570s-1700s
For Italy, the ‘long seventeenth century’ was a period of considerable financial challenges. This was especially evident on the book market. Nevertheless, thanks to new techniques and formats which mutually related text and images within the same publication, innovative genres were born that were marketed towards both ends of the audience spectrum, from the learned to the illiterate.
‘More than meets the page: Printing Text and Images in Italy, 1570s-1700s’ aims to investigate the ways in which the consolidation of the book and print trade influenced the development of such new book genres from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century. The products emerging in the wake of these processes reached consumers throughout distant countries, between Italy and the rest of Europe. Moreover, various professionals and skilled workers earned their living thanks to the print market, from the production to the distribution of printed items. For instance, workshops of woodcutters specialized exclusively in book illustrations, such as for scientific treatises, and publishers regularly sent participants to fairs throughout Europe. The new commercial items, moreover, contributed to the spread of cultural phenomena, for instance the Grand Tour through its souvenir prints that were sometimes incorporated in atlases.
This one-day interdisciplinary conference seeks to examine these matters by focusing on the products, audiences and professionals involved. By doing so, it sets out to lay the foundations for a shared history of printed products and markets in the early modern period. The conference promotes a multidisciplinary perspective, bridging the gaps between art history, history of the book and other disciplines such as intellectual history and communication studies.
We invite papers addressing, although by no means limited to, questions such as:
- Who were the publishers that specialized in the new genres, both in earnest or merely to face the financial challenges they encountered from the late sixteenth century onwards? Can specific socio-geographical patterns be discerned (through either individual case studies or larger scale data analysis)?
- In what ways was the book trade on a whole influenced by booksellers’ increasing reliance on book fairs and news correspondents, and by the emergence of bookselling as a separate profession? And what was the relevance of supplementary trades, such as paper production?
- To what extent did the production methods and channels of distribution used in the book- and print trade overlap during this period?
- What was the impact of collecting on the physical appearance of print products, such atlases and albums, and on the demand for already circulating books?
- Were certain of the new genres specifically targeted towards particular audiences? Can cheap print in its various shapes, such as news printing, be considered as reaching a shared audience between different social classes?
- In what ways did figures active within cities or in areas between city and countryside, like street singers, performers, public news readers, and pedlars, contribute to the book- and print trade?
- How can the status of Italy, which despite its waning glory was still able to remain one of the leading players on the book- and print market, in all this be understood?
We invite papers from both established and emerging scholars in universities, museums, galleries, and other related institutions. Accepted speakers will be expected to pay the conference fee and fund their own travel; bursaries for postgraduate students might be offered to help with travel expenses, however this is not guaranteed. All accepted speakers are encouraged to apply to their institutions for subsidies to attend the conference.
Abstracts for 20-minute papers, not exceeding 300 words, accompanied by a brief academic cv (100 words), should be sent by 31 August 2016 to: email@example.com