Libri in movimento. Circolazione e costruzione di saperi tra Italia ed Europa in età moderna
Book in motion. Circulation and Construction of Knowledge between Italy and Europe in the Early Modern Period
Programma di ricerca
SH6_5 - Palaeography and codicology
SH6_7 - Medieval history
SH6_9 - Modern and contemporary history
SH6_10 - Colonial and post-colonial history
18/03/2020 - 17/03/2023
Aree / Gruppi di ricerca
Partecipanti al progetto
Descrizione del progetto
The main aim of this project is to reposition the history of the book at the heart of the historiographical debate about the construction of a European (and worldwide) cultural space consisting of exchange, influence and reciprocal contamination.
Book historians have focused above all on the means used to transport books, the trade routes followed, the partnerships that enabled these exchanges between cities and markets all over Europe, the interaction between sellers and buyers and therefore the channels of movement of texts. Using this body of knowledge as a support, this project aims to use the history of the book as a gateway to access the history of culture by reflecting on different local, national and international tastes, the diverse perspectives on a text in distant social and denominational contexts and the different ways in which texts were received by government institutions, different communities of readers and even individual readers.
The members of this project will concentrate on the production, circulation and translation of printed books and the social and cultural contexts of their repackaging through textual adaptations in different linguistic and denominational contexts from the original ones. The term ‘translation’ is therefore meant here in its common literal sense as linguistic transposition (of a text), but also in its broader (and no less literal) meaning of ‘transfer’ (of a text) from one context to another.
The study will include not only the translators themselves but also all the cultural mediators involved in the cultural transfer process in various capacities: customers, editors, printers, dedicatees and collectors. In other words, the material aspects of texts will be supplemented by analysis of the networks of relations between groups and individuals that these cultural transmission processes created in terms of communications and, more generally, shared social practices: the methods of distribution, transmission and use of texts, examined using a rich array of information already at our disposal regarding editions and places of publication as well as the identities of translators and other cultural mediation figures.
The Italian peninsula will be placed back at the centre of a European (and non-European) system of book circulation, downscaling the rhetoric of the presumed isolation imposed by the Counter Reformation at the heart of the early modern age compared to the rest of Europe (and the world). This will be done in various ways, as the next section of the project will illustrate in detail. The permeability of territorial barriers in Catholic Europe in the XVI and XVII century and the differences between the multiple forms of Catholicism that characterised its cultural and religious fabric will be tested through both the study of the circulation of spiritual, devotional and catechetical books – texts which are at least seemingly reliable in their orthodoxy – and the fortunes of books variously judged to be heterodox such as the libertine texts that circulated between Italy and France. The spotlight will fall on the denominational barriers that separated Protestant Europe from its Catholic counterpart by studying the circulation of spiritual and mystical texts – above all Pietist works – that travelled between Italy and Germany in the XVII century and the different ways in which institutional writings such as collections of decrees and proposals for Church reform were received, adapted and manipulated in the Catholic and Protestant worlds, also by groups and figures situated at the margins and sometimes outside the dominant orthodoxies, in order to represent them ‘impartially’ outside the existing denominational boundaries. Finally, the study of the publishing, translation and circulation of Spanish texts in Italy in the XVI century will enable us to reflect on the central role played in the Italian peninsula by the history of the Sephardic and Moorish diasporas, also extending our focus beyond Europe.