British Library logoTreasures in Full: Renaissance Festival Books
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3. About this project

Festival books are a rich resource for the history of modern Europe, of interest to social, political and cultural historians and to historians of the book. The aim of this project, and others related to it, is to provide greater access to these books.

The Festival Books Digitisation Project, funded by the AHRC, is the result of collaboration between the AHRC Centre for the Study of Renaissance Elites and Court Cultures at the University of Warwick and the British Library. The Centre is home to a number of inter-disciplinary projects concerned with the study of court culture and festival entertainments in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. The Festival Books Project is an offshoot of one of these in particular, the AHRC-funded Europa Triumphans (Directors: Professor Ronnie Mulryne and Professor Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly) which, among other things, has published a two-volume collection of festival texts with an extensive scholarly apparatus (J.R. Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly and Margaret Shewring (eds.), 'Europa Triumphans': Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2004).

We have drawn on the expertise and work of those involved in the Europa Triumphans project to make possible an even wider dissemination of festival texts by means of digitisation.

In all, 253 festival books, many of them illustrated, were catalogued, indexed and photographed. Over 14,000 images (pages) are hosted on the site. The books are presented in their original languages, and include bindings, preliminary material, title pages and dedications. The texts are fully searchable using a wide range of search terms, covering such areas as participants (named in the titles of the books), places, topics, bibliographical details, and elements of the visual and performing arts.

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