Book trade between Italian states and the German-speaking lands in the long-term perspective spanning from 1450 to 1800

Book trade between Italian states and the German-speaking lands in the long-term perspective spanning from 1450 to 1800

Tobias Daniels, Mittelalterliche Geschichte und Historische Grundwissenschaften, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Mona Garloff, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie, Universität Innsbruck; Andrea Ottone, Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo
Fand statt
In Präsenz
Vom - Bis
02.05.2023 - 05.05.2023
Nana Citron, Department for Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo

The influence of the introduction of print on the European identity and knowledge landscape continues to be a widely discussed phenomenon in book history. Printing technology was an extremely important innovation that accelerated the dissemination and circulation of knowledge in order to promote the emergence of national and transnational book trades. Books travelled and were traded on European and global scale, and so knowledge circulation and dissemination flourished in Early Modern Europe.

To discuss reciprocities and interdependence of book trade between the German-speaking lands and Italian states from 1450 to 1800, and to present the latest research results, scholars from the field were invited to a four day-conference at Villa Vigoni, Italy.

The conference organizers Tobias Daniels (München), Mona Garloff (Innsbruck) and Andrea Ottone (Oslo) opened the event with a brief recapitulation of the history of printing. It was Johannes Gutenberg who fundamentally changed the premodern era by introducing movable types printing technology to Europe. During this process, technology, economics and trading networks merged and worked together, while the invention also had a huge fortune in Italy. The aim of the conference was to look at these regions over a longer timescale (1450–1800). Ottone reminded the participants that there was also a distancing between German- and Italian-speaking lands during this time with the publication of the first Roman Index of Forbidden Books, containing various titles from German-speaking lands.

The Index of Forbidden books was also the subject of the talk by FLAVIA BRUNI (Chieti). With the help of examples, she explained that the Index did not paint a true picture of the reality of the circulation or prohibition of books, as evidence showed that forbidden literature was found in Italian religious houses.

Like Bruni, ANDREEA BADEA (Frankfurt am Main) also incorporated the topic of prohibited books in her research when investigating the relationship of early modern censorship and Roman booksellers. The inquisition was designed to prevent people from entering in contact with dangerous ideas by controlling it. To do so, prohibited books were purchased by the inquisition – often with the help of booksellers at the Frankfurt book fair who enjoyed the protection of a cardinal.

The special situation of exercising control through the targeted purchase of certain books was also discussed by NINA LAMAL (Amsterdam), who showed how diplomats used tools to influence opinions in the Early Modern era. For this, she described the strategies of Antonio Albergati, one of which included asking booksellers to buy copies of a single anti-papal publication at the Frankfurt fair.

The fair in Frankfurt was also a central hub for Arabic works. According to CAREN REIMANN (Wolfenbüttel), this changed at the end of the 16th century. Reimann traced letters and conversations by Giovanni Battista Raimondi, director of the Typographia Medicea, which testify to his exploration and analysis of the German book market. Due to Raimondi’s interest in the German market and especially Frankfurt, he was able to explore new ways to sell his Arabic works directly in the Levant and Morocco instead of prioritizing Frankfurt. Reimann connected these occurrences to a relevant shift in the presence of Arabic books at the Frankfurt fair between 1580 and the mid-1590s.

Frankfurt and its book fair were not just a central hub of the Early Modern book trade but also revealed lots of merchant networks. One of them was explored by TOBIAS DANIELS (Munich) who invited the participants to explore the connection between Frankfurt merchant Peter Uglheimer and one of his collaborators, Bernardino Stagnino, who was not just a merchant, but also a publisher. Mostly with the help of court records, Daniels traced the business network of Stagnino, who seems to have inherited it via Peter Uglheimer from Frankfurt, which allowed him to sell books in Rome and Frankfurt at the book fair and in the Low Countries, but who had many problems when the books got damaged or destroyed.

The Frankfurt fair was a reliable address for the presentation of newly published books, and indeed Christopher Plantin presented 182 books there that he had bought from Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari. The connection between these two men was investigated by RENAUD MILAZZO (Rome) and ANGELA NUOVO (Milano) who described Christopher Plantin’s interest in Italian markets and his engagement in the distribution of books from Italy. Plantin tracked the European book production with the help of a register.

The production of Christopher Plantin was also studied by JORGE FRAGUA VALDIVIESO (Madrid). Focusing on missals, he investigated the typographic and stylistic aspects of books by Plantin who influenced the production of the Giunta family. Sometimes the general appearance of their imprints resulted from requests by the Crown, made through official printing privileges.

CRISTINA DONDI (Oxford) presented the distribution of 15th-century printed German books in Italy and Italian printed books in Germany. In her research, Dondi looked at the distribution networks of early printed books in order to understand trends and networks by integrating data in collaborative enterprises. Dondi especially drew on the database Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), which presents over half of the copies from the incunabula period.

SHANTI GRAHELI (Glasgow) also used material evidence within books to testify their circulation, which was also affected by personal relationships. The material traces of production, circulation, and uses of German readers were analyzed by her in books that were translated from Italian into Latin – an interesting type of book for the German market in the 16th century.

The circulation of books can be used not only to trace single readers of certain books but also to trace stories of communities, as DORIT RAINES (Venice) showed. Raines focused on the Capuchin provinces in Germany and Italy, exploring the works of Early Modern humanists. She investigated the circulation of books within monasteries and friaries, tracing a coordinated system of possession marks on all the books. Over the last thirty years, together with her students, she has catalogued shelfmark labels and Capuchin libraries to trace the story of the Capuchin communities and their cultural relations in the German, Austrian and Italian territories.

With the help of a particular dataset, which was a rich collection of bibliographical information from the 16th century, ANDREA OTTONE (Oslo) showed, how books from Germany moved to Italy, landing in key cities and then diffusing to smaller centers. Ottone ascertained that the circulation of German imprints in Italy was primarily a Northern Italian phenomenon.

The matter of German imprints that were circulating in Italy was also discussed by SASKIA LIMBACH (Göttingen) in her paper on the Urach press, where works by Martin Luther or Philipp Melanchthon were translated and printed. Limbach shed new light on the markets for the books – mainly Eastern Europe and the North of Italy – as well as on the financial aspects of the press whose operations were funded by various donations.

Financial aspects were also the content of the sources examined by KEVIN STEVENS (Reno). Stevens presented a case study in which he investigated a single business contract from 1573 between Antonio degli Antoni and Gottfried Birckmann from Cologne, which resulted from a dispute about the costs of a trade between them. Stevens was able to draw a picture from the sources of the exact historical circumstances, including book prices, as well as the ecclesiastical customers of Antoni.

OREN MARGOLIS (Norwich) presented his findings on Aldus Manutius’s work and focused on one book that was meant to be published in 1504 in Manutius’s academy. In so doing he was able to show the links between German humanists and Aldus Manutius.

WILLIAM CONNELL (New Jersey) also used the interconnected world of Early Modern humanists to uncover evidence that Erasmus and Machiavelli were linked through books. He showed with prints from the Giunta press and political treatises of Erasmus that both of the historical figures had a closer connection than previously known.

JULIA BRUCH (Cologne) presented two case studies looking at the exchange of illustrations within technical manual books of the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as the exchange of books themselves that were fruitful for the German book market. Bruch showed how the surviving technical prints testify to a lively exchange of technical knowledge between Italy and Germany.

MARGHERITA PALUMBO (Roma) also had a look at books travelling between the two countries by focusing on a specific case: The Italian books in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s private library. Palumbo traced these books through inventories and catalogues to draw a picture of the shipment of Leibniz’s books from Italy to Germany.

The book trade between Italy and Germany was also the content of MAGNUS RESSEL’s (Frankfurt am Main) research, who focused on one of the most influencing trading hubs – the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. He analyzed correspondences of Lutheran preachers and looked at how they requested certain genres and books.

JÖRG SCHWARZ (Innsbruck) drew attention to the court of Emperor Maximilian I and the book trade at his time. Schwarz’s focus was the influence of Maximilian on the culture and book trade at that time in his role as a promoter of literature. To find out about the market strategies of humanists at the court of Maximilian I, Schwarz used Maximilian’s own book collection, as well as sources of Jakob Oessler and Konrad Celtis, who were influential at the Viennese court.

Like Schwarz, PAOLA MOLINO (Padua) targeted Vienna with its imperial library by highlighting the presence of Italian books there. Molino showed how book that were printed in Italy or in the Italian language came to be part of the imperial collection.

MONA GARLOFF (Innsbruck) delivered the final presentation, the subject being Italian books in premodern Vienna. She showed that Italian music and poetry were a popular genre in Vienna during the 18th century, while also investigating Italian books that were printed in Vienna. The role of the international book trade in Vienna was also the focus of Garloff’s research.

The organizers Mona Garloff and Tobias Daniels closed the conference with an outlook on what could be investigated in the future and a summary of current research desiderates in the field: Garloff and Daniels emphasized the need to depart from the main routes of research and go further in the exploration of historical distribution networks, in addition to focusing on the actors of the book trades of Italy and Germany. While the topic of book ownership should be explored as well, researchers could also focus on the aspect of buying and selling, as well as on patrons and readership. Intergenerational lines of heritage and gender perspectives should also be highlighted more. These desiderates still underline the need to continue to focus on the late medieval and early modern era, while also moving on to the 19th century. Daniels and Garloff concluded that book history is a wide field, in which many routes should be taken and research must not be regionally limited. The main importance would be bringing together the evidence of books and archives, libraries, and inventories, to gain a holistic view of the historical book market. The conference summarized the current state of research on book history in Europe, while showing brilliant findings, as well as several overlaps between the different research focusses. The trading routes within the Southern part of the Holy Roman Empire – today’s Northern Italy, Austria, and Germany – were highlighted in particular by several scholars during the conference and testify to a rich source corpus that has still not been investigated as a whole. The conference represented a starting point for a number of future research projects.

Conference overview:

Panel I: Distribution

Chair: Andrea Ottone (Universitetet i Oslo)

Cristina Dondi (Lincoln College, University of Oxford): The Distribution of Fifteenth-Century Printed Venetian Books in Germany, and of Fifteenth-Century Printed German Books in Italy: The Evidence

Angela Nuovo (Università di Milano) / Renaud Milazzo (EmoBookTrade and Venerable English College Rome): The Compass and the Phoenix: Book Trade and Pricing Practices at the Plantin and the Giolito Firms

Dorit Raines (Università Ca’ Foscari): Loci Capuccinorum … German and Austrian Book Editions in Northern-Italy Capuchin Religious Houses

Caren Reimann (Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel): Detour to Frankfurt – Exploring the Trade Routes for the Sale of Arabic Books

Panel II: Zentren und Peripherien

Chair: Flavia Bruni (Università di Chieti-Pescara)

Kevin Stevens (University of Nevada, Reno): Purchasing Books from Cologne (and the Frankfurt Fairs): A Contract between the Antoni Book Firm from Milan and the Birckmann, Publishers in Cologne (1573)

Andrea Ottone (Universitetet i Oslo): La circolazione delle edizioni tedesche in Italia alla fine del XVI secolo: una panoramica bibliometrica attraverso la documentazione della Congregazione dell’Indice

Panel III: Wissensfelder und Interaktion

Chair: Jörg Schwarz (Universität Innsbruck)

Nina Lamal (NL-Lab, Amsterdam) Cooperation or coercion? Diplomats and Publishing Endeavours in Italian and German States

Oren Margolis (University of East Anglia, Norwich): Phoebus in ventre Martis: Aldus Manutius, German Humanists, and the “Long Arm of Kings”

Julia Bruch (Universität zu Köln): Trading Technical Manuals. Late Medieval Exchange of Knowledge and Books Across the Alps

Shanti Graheli (University of Glasgow): Italian Books in Germany: Reading Practices in Negotiating Foreign Texts

Panel IV: Friktionen auf dem Europäischen Markt

Chair: Mona Garloff (Universität Innsbruck)

Jorge Fragua Valdivieso (Universidad Complutense de Madrid): Competition and Style: Typographic Choices and Similarities between Christopher Plantin and the Giunta family

Tobias Daniels (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München): Broken Trade Chains, Lost Books and the Questions of Market Orientation, Responsibility and Money: the European Book Trade Network of Bernardino Stagnino

Magnus Ressel (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main): Fernbuchhandel zwischen den deutschsprachigen Ländern und Italien 1450-1800: Neue Forschungen zu Wissenstransfers, Märkten und Akteuren

Flavia Bruni (Università di Chieti-Pescara): “Impresse Venetijs opera arte et expensis Petri Liechtensteyn Coloniensis Germani:” The Commercial Network of a Sixteenth-century German Printer Abroad

Panel V: Religiöse Fragmentierung

Chair: Riccarda Suitner (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rom)

Saskia Limbach (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen): Financing the Production and Distribution of Lutheran Texts in Italian in the 1560s. The Urach Press and its Multilingual Ambitions

Andreea Badea (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main): Information and Control of Knowledge. Roman Booksellers and Early Modern Censorship

Panel VI: Akquisition und Marktdynamiken

Chair: Tobias Daniels (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

William Connell (Seton Hall University, New Jersey): Two Florentines in Paris and Their Books

Jörg Schwarz (Universität Innsbruck): Die res publica litteraria auf dem Buchmarkt. Der Hof Kaiser Maximilians I. (1459/1486-1519) und der Fernbuchhandel seiner Zeit

Paola Molino (Università di Padova): The Imperial Library of Vienna and the Italian Book Market between 16th and 17th century

Panel VII: Der Buchmarkt als Neuperspektivierung des Aufklärungsjahrhunderts

Chair: Andreea Badea (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Margherita Palumbo (Biblioteca Casanatense, Roma): Edizioni italiane nella collezione privata di Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Mona Garloff (Universität Innsbruck): Wien und der italienische Buchmarkt im frühen 18. Jahrhundert