Ephemeral city explores the rapid rise of cheap print and how it permeated Venetian urban culture in the Renaissance. It offers the first view of one of the city's most productive and creative industries from the bottom up and a new and unexpected vision of Renaissance culture, characterised by the fluid mobility and dynamic intermingling of texts, ideas, goods and people.
Closely intertwined with oral culture and often peddled in the streets, cheap printed texts helped to open up new audiences for literature, providing information and entertainment to a diverse public and transforming the city into an epicentre of vernacular literature and performance. Examining the ways in which the production and dissemination of cheap print infiltrated Venice's urban environment and changed the course of its cultural life, the book also traces how local authorities responded by escalating censorship and control over the course of the sixteenth century.
Ephemeral city will be of interest to scholars and students of early modern European and Italian Renaissance culture and society and the history of the book and communication.
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 240 x 170 x 23 mm
This vivid study gives for the first time solid form to an elusive topic, viewing this thriving and distinctive sector of the city's commerce both from street level and from the perspective of the state and the Roman Church as they struggled to control it.'
Emeritus Professor Brian Richardson, University of Leeds
'It is only very occasionally that a book comes along that opens up an entirely new field, but this is certainly the case with this sparklingly original study. Rosa Salzberg brings this forgotten world vividly to life in a work of great charm and outstanding forensic skill.'
Professor Andrew Pettegree, University of St Andrews
'A hugely impressive work that throws new light on the less known aspects of the Renaissance's largest publishing centre... This is a brilliant example of the most beautifully written, and entertaining, scholarship.'
Filippo De Vivo, Birkbeck College, London
This book derives its value primarily from its close description of a dynamic process in one specific, but important, city. In doing so, Salzberg has produced an excellent, well-written, and informative introduction into the early modern world of cheap print culture.
Studying the ephemeral presents serious challenges to historians, but Salzberg is able to weave fragmentary evidence together into a compelling narrative of how cheap print became omnipresent in the lives of most Venetians during the early sixteenth century. This well-written and researched work is an excellent example of the new scholarship on communication media and practices; it certainly will impact on future research agendas on this topic.
...surely one of the most significant and impressive works on early modern European print culture to have been published in recent years. Its author, Rosa Salzberg, is an Assistant Professor of Italian Renaissance History at the University of Warwick. That this is a first monograph, emerging from the author's doctoral research, makes it a truly breathtaking accomplishment
....this is certainly one of the best and most original works on book history to appear in recent years. Ephemeral City is an outstanding piece of scholarship, and beautifully written.
It is essential reading for anyone interested in European print culture, and will almost certainly shape the field for a long time to come.
'Salzberg offers a valuable and innovative study that takes us out of the libraries of the learned and into the streets to see how the printed word gradually wound its way into the lives of ordinary Venetians.'
Dennis Romano, Syracuse University, Renaissance Quarterly -- .