The circulation and collection of Italian printed books in sixteenth-century France
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This thesis is an examination of the circulation networks and the patterns of collection of Italian printed books in France in the sixteenth century. Although the cultural relations between the Italian and French territory have been studied, a systematic survey to assess the impact of books on the shaping of the French Renaissance has never been attempted. The first section of this study examines the trade routes and networks which facilitated the circulation of Italian printed books across the French territory. Because of the nature of the French early modern book trade, focused primarily on two major centres (Paris and Lyon), a geographical division has been adopted in investigating this phenomenon. Chapter one explores the trade networks existing in sixteenth-century Lyon, from the powerful Compagnie des Libraires to the activity of the libraires italianisants in the second half of the century. Chapter two examines the importance of Italian editions in Paris. Chapter three is devoted to the circulation of Italian books in the provinces and the impact of large regional centres and trade routes on the availability of books locally. Chapter four investigates private networks and their importance in making specific texts available to French readers. The second section of this study investigates the status and importance of Italian printed books within French Renaissance libraries. Chapter five looks into the development of the French Royal library and the role played by Italian items in defining its identity as an institution. Chapter six examines the presence of Italian books in French aristocratic and courtly collections. Chapter seven is devoted to the libraries of the French literary milieu, analysing the extent to which Italian books were cherished as literary exemplars, particularly with regard to vernacular texts. Chapter eight examines the presence of Italian books in professional collections, with particular attention here given to texts in Latin and other scholarly languages imported from Italy. The conclusion draws all of these strands together, looking at the specific role played by Italian culture, through the printed book, on the development of the French Renaissance. A catalogue of about 2,400 Italian printed books with early modern French provenance is included as an appendix volume. This data provides the evidential basis for this study.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 23rd October 2020
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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