Call for paper: Crisis or Enlightenment? Developments in the Book Trade (1650-1750)

Crisis or Enlightenment? Developments in the Book Trade (1650-1750)

St Andrews Book Conference, 20-22 June 2019

It has never been questioned that the European Enlightenment was made by books. The intellectual movement which swept across Europe and the Atlantic world from the end of the seventeenth century was fostered, expressed and realised by a sophisticated international market for books. Complex ventures such as Bayle’s Dictionnaire and the ever-expanding number of periodicals indicate that authors and intellectuals were keenly aware of print as a powerful tool. Yet did the book trade reciprocate this enthusiasm? How far did the book market embrace the Enlightenment, and how important were the great intellectual currents of the day to the everyday business of books?

The relationship between the nascent Enlightenment and the organisation of the book trade stands central to this conference. It will seek to expose general developments in European and Atlantic book trade practices from c. 1650-1750, coinciding roughly with the “Early Enlightenment”, in order to refine our understanding of the interplay between intellectual currents and the market for print.

The organisers welcome contributions on any facet of this subject. Possible themes include:

  • Changes in distribution and sales strategies (including the role of book auctions, review journals and advertising)
  • The cultivation of new genres, markets and readers
  • The role of the periodical (newspapers, journals, magazines)
  • The rise, fall and transformation of book trade centres
  • The influence of the Huguenot diaspora
  • The growth of an Atlantic book culture
  • The changing relationship between authors, publishers, printers and booksellers
  • The production and reception of Early Enlightenment texts
  • Institutional and personal book collecting

Co-organised by Arthur der Weduwen and Ann-Marie Hansen, the conference will take place between 20 and 22 June 2019. Proposals (max. 300 words) should be sent to Arthur der Weduwen (adw7@st-andrews.ac.uk) by 30 November 2018.

A conference flyer can be downloaded here.


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