From printshop to piazza: the dissemination of cheap print in sixteenth century Venice
This thesis is concerned with the smallest and cheapest products of the Venetian presses in the sixteenth century. Pamphlets and printed fliers were the most accessible articles of printed matter to the wider public, and they are crucial to understanding how the technology of printing infiltrated the urban life of Venice in this period. To this end, Chapter One is concerned with the spaces of print dissemination in the city, mapping information about the locations of presses, bookshops, and stalls in the city. A particular focus is the street trade in cheap print, how this interacted with established shops and was drawn to particular times and spaces of public gathering. Chapters Two and Three consider the chief producers and disseminators of cheap print: printers and publishers, and vendors both established and itinerant. I examine the people who came to make up the printing industry in this developmental phase, and the role that the production of cheap print played in the process of establishing a successful business. A focus on performers who published or sold cheap print-enacting the oral dissemination of texts in tandem with their printed diffusion-suggests how broader publics, of every shade from illiterate to literate, were becoming acculturated to an expanding print culture. Chapter Four then concentrates on representative examples of printed pamphlets produced in Venice by itinerant publishers and performers in collaboration with members of the local printing industry, for example, tales of chivalry, poems about recent wars, charlatans' recipes, and prognostications. Finally, in Chapter Five I consider how cheap print dissemination fared in the intensifying climate of control and censorship of the Counter-Reformation era.
- Theses