Natalia Maillard Alvarez
dates de séjour
projet de recherche
Books trade networks between France, the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas (1470-1680)
The aim of my project is to study the professional mechanisms trough which books circulated from France to the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas, and the role of French and local businessmen on it. I intend to cover not only the circuits established by the major French booksellers/printers in the traffic of books to the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas (such as the Boyer or Portonarii families). A good part of the books that circulated throughout Europe did so in the hands of colporteurs, modest peddlers who had a key role in the book trade, and that should not be forgotten in our research.
The study of the interactions between economy, legislation and religion (especially after the Council of Trent) regarding books trade between France and the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies will be a key point in our project. The production and circulation of books is a good example of why we need to combine local, national and international perspectives in the history of the book during the Early Modern period: it seems that, step by step, some Catholic territories were linking each other through the circulation of books, not only from a cultural point of view, but also from an economical one.
The temporal framework of the project runs between the arrival of the printing press to the Iberian Peninsula (circa 1470) and the end of the Thirty Years War (1648). I will focus on the configuration and evolution of books trade networks, and particularly in its agents and their mobility through Europe and the New World. In the context of this project, it is necessary to consider not only the social and economical aspects of the book trade, but also the cultural and political ones.
We need to know how those networks worked, which areas were linked through them, what was their importance on the local, national and international scale, how they interacted with each other, and how they built the mechanism of trust that allowed some of them to survive for several generations. It is also interesting to see how sometimes Catholic and Protestant book trade networks were not totally isolated. Confessional frontiers could well have been trespassed by printers and booksellers on business missions. That leads me to analyse how the different book control systems in France, Spain and Portugal were developed and affected to the international books trade.
My study aims to widen the previous research in this field, and to do so, the first step will be to compile the current bibliography. Only then it will make sense to fill the gaps with the fieldwork in archives and libraries in order to reconstruct the merchants' networks beyond the local and national scale. Here the use of new technologies, like GIS (Geographic Information System) can help us in the implementation of the project.
Natalia Maillard Álvarez has been Lecturer in Early Modern History at the Department of Geography, History and Philosophy of the University Pablo de Olavide (Seville) since October 2012. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Seville. From 2010 to 2012 she was Marie Curie Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. Her research field is book history, especially the history of the book trade and the history of readers in the Hispanic Monarchy during the 16th and 17th centuries.