The Universal Short Title Catalogue Project is the proud host of the St Andrews Book Conference series
IV:Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World (28-30 June 2012).
4th St Andrews Book Conference Series
The Early Modern Book world was characterised by great variety, but also by fierce competition.Â Many printers and publishers responded by developing a highly specialised output, utilising skills Â and expertise that gave them a vital commercial edge, and deterred potential rivals.Â Books that required specialised typefaces (music and Greek texts) were inevitably the preserve of a small number Â of firms; but others took advantage of the sophisticated European distribution network to develop an international reputation for specific genres.Â The production of Books of Hours was dominated by Â a few Parisian firms; in 1541 Georg Joachim Rheticus would carry the precious manuscript of Copernicusâs De revolutionibus 1,000 kilometres across Europe to find a printing centre (Nuremberg) Â capable of doing it justice.Â But much less well capitalised firms could also find their niche in the new genres that underpinned the market: almanacs, calendars and news.
Speakers at the conference include: Zsuzsa Barbarics-Hermanik, Natasha Constantinidou, Iain Fenlon, Neil Harris, Richard Kirwan, Isabella Matauschek, RÃ©mi Mathis, David McKitterick, Roger Paas, Â Massimo Petta, Pedro Rueda Ramirez, Ursula Rautenberg, LluÃs AgustÃ Ruiz, Paul Shore, BjÃ¸rn Skaarup and Francisco AntÃ³nio LourenÃ§o Vaz.
III: Documenting the early modern book world: inventories and catalogues in manuscript and print. (July 2011).
It has become customary in documenting the world of early printed books to rely primarily on surveys of survivors: that is, books that have weathered the buffeting of history to reach the comparative safety of modern library collections. Most national bibliographical catalogues are aggregates of the holdings of library catalogues; faut de mieux these are taken to offer a reasonable account of the original output.
But the urge to list, catalogue and advertise the wealth of the new printed book culture was just as strong in the first age of books. Printers made lists of their available stock; owners proudly catalogued their libraries; assessors inventorised collections and stock as part of the settlement of estates, or legal proceedings. In an age of religious discord censorship required the publication of lists of forbidden books (though at the risk of advertising their contents); book-sellersâ shelves, private and public libraries were examined for forbidden material.
These various classes of list contain indispensable material on various aspects of the 16th century book trade: on cost, retail pricing, second hand values, binding and library practice. They allow the reconstruction of lost or dispersed libraries. They also document many thousands of titles and editions that have now disappeared altogether.
The third St Andrews book history conference will engage a wide-ranging discussion and analysis of contemporary book lists, manuscript or printed and takes place with the generous support of the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Bibliographical Society and Brill and their Library of the Written Word Series.
If the post-incunabula era represents the awkward age of the printed book â when print was approaching but had not reached full maturity; the second century of print represents its golden age. This was a period marked by the development of a diverse, sustainable print industry throughout Europe, as publishers developed both new genres and new types of printed book for an increasingly diverse readership. For historians of the book this marks a time when the printed book decisively outgrew the traditional markets of the manuscript era, not least through its instrumental role in the political controversies of this turbulent century.
Building upon the success of 2008 USTC Conference, âThe Book in Transitionâ, this yearâs conference will examine the importance of this golden age and will give a Europe-wide perspective on the changing nature of the printed book. We will be welcoming a number of distinguished speakers who are undertaking important research in this field. This conference, the second in a series of annual conferences, also seeks to place the University of St Andrews at the heart of international research on the History of the book.
This conference will take place from the 9th to the 11th of September and has been made possible with the support of the University of St Andrews, the Bibliographical Society, and Brill publishing.
The period 1500-1540 is the least well studied in the in the early history of printing. The surviving books of the 15th century, the incunabula age, have been subjected to minute investigation, and now a comprehensive composite study (the ISTC). The later 16th century is the subject of numerous specialist bibliographies. The forty years between represent the awkward age: the period of adolescence when the printed book was approaching but had not reached full maturity; and when the industry experienced a period of stagnation, before the vast expansion of the reading public in the later 16th century.
The book had not yet fully evolved as the mature artefact, with title-page, date and place of printing that we associate with the printing of the Hand Press Book era. This itself introduces elements of difficulty for the book specialist, since so many of the books published are undated, necessitating complex bibliographical analysis to place them correctly. The experience of this period was also very different in different parts of Europe, as the Reformation reshaped the industry in Germany, but not elsewhere.
This conference, by drawing together leading specialists in book culture from different parts of Europe, will compare these diverse experiences of print, and examine how the book industry faced the challenge of the re-structuring that followed the first exuberant age of experimentation. It will also chart the growth of a pan-European book market, as print groped its way towards the robust business model that would underpin its later spectacular success. This conference will take place from the 3rd to the 5th of September and is sponsored by the Royal Historical Society and Brill publishing.