The Living book: Making a Book One’s Own in the Renaissance

The Living book: Making a Book One’s Own in the Renaissance

Over the 150 years that followed the invention of printing by Gutenberg, the book became a more accessible object. This fundamental change was in part due to the exponential rise in the number of volumes published and distributed. But the life of a book did not stop when it came off the printing press. It continued to change and evolve, both when it was being prepared for sale in the bookseller’s shop and when the buyer personalised the book to integrate it into his library. Each successive owner modified the texts he acquired whether by rebinding them alone or with other editions, or by adding his own annotations in the margins. This exhibition presents a selection of volumes taken from the heritage library of the CCI that tell the story of the complex lives of books and how they changed during the Renaissance. By investigating the clues hidden within these volumes new light is shed on reading and book ownership during this period.
Curator’s talk in the exhibition on Saturday 16 September at 3pm.

Curator: Malcolm Walsby, Historian of Rennes University, researcher at the CCI in 2016