The Panizzi Lectures 2019
Learned books in the Renaissance often featured abundant and varied paratexts. Some were designed to create authority for the book and its topic; others provided aids to the reader in navigating a long and difficult text. Some of the new paratexts devised by humanist authors and printers proved short-lived experiments; others had a long legacy (though not always continuous). Because they talk about the book and its text, paratexts offer unique insights into the process of producing the book and the various people and social dynamics involved in it, as well as the task and skills expected of the book’s readers.
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Ann Blair is Carl H Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard University, where she specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe (16th-17th centuries), with an emphasis on France. Her interests include the history of the book and of reading, the history of the disciplines and of scholarship, and the history of interactions between science and religion.