Paratexts and Print in Renaissance Humanism: The Limits of Paratexts

A manuscript written in Latin

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The Panizzi Lectures 2019

The final lecture by Ann Blair on paratexts and print in Renaissance humanism. 

Surviving copies are typically the main evidence we have of the process by which early printed books were written and produced. But when we also have external evidence about the book’s production or reception, we can see that paratexts offer only a snapshot of hopes and ideals which were not necessarily borne out in reality. Paratexts were designed as representations of the production process and of the author’s (and others’) intentions rather than as information for the book historian. So we should read them critically or 'against the grain' without passing up the chance to learn from them (by reading 'with the grain').

The lecture is followed by a wine reception. 

Free | Ticket required

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.


Name: Paratexts and Print in Renaissance Humanism: The Limits of Paratexts
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Free Event: £0.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546