New Publication: Kempf, Charlotte Katharina: Materialität und Präsenz von Inkunabeln. Die deutschen Erstdrucker im französischsprachigen Raum bis 1500. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2020.

We are delighted to share this news about a new publication by our network member Charlotte Kempf. Congratulations, Charlotte!

With the establishment of a press at University of Paris in 1470, the history of printing presses in the French speaking world began. One of the founders was the German scholar Johannes Heynlin von Stein. He marks the start of a historically significant development in which printers from the Holy Roman Empire are of central importance. In the 15th century, it were in fact German printers who took the initiative to establish printing presses in eleven out of forty French cities. Geographically, those presses were predominantly located in the southeast of the French Kingdom and in the Duchy of Burgundy, in the Palatinate County of Burgundy, as well as in the region of what is today the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This media-historically important transition is the focus of this PhD thesis.

On the basis of a profound methodology rooted in the history of materiality, the study shows that printing presses must be understood as an intersection of different developments. A comprehensive examination of the biographies of the respective printers and their printing portfolios are presented. Additionally, the book records the university, urban and monastic environment of the presses and critically evaluates the printed editions. By doing so, it is possible to work out in detail – while always referring to the sources – the complexity of the transition from a period of manuscripts to a period of printed books. Hence, a transition from non-typographic to typographic societies. Finally, the study proves that the German printers were a communicative and trans-border networked group which exemplarily stands for the French and partly for the European history of the printing press in the 15th century. By precisely and extensively analysing one of the most important groups of printers in the 15th century, the book allows for new insights to the history of early French printing presses and therefore seeks to fill a gap in academic literature. Furthermore, it encourages an international and scientific dialogue.

Full bibliographical information as well as a complete table of contents can be found here.



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