Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Archiv Für Geschichte Des Buchwesens

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Archiv Für Geschichte Des Buchwesens

Article excerpt

Ursula Rautenberg, 'Die Entstehung und Entwicklung des Buchtitelblatts in der Inkunabelzeit in Deutschland, den Niederlanden und Venedig: Quantitative und qualitative Stuthen', Archiv für Geschiebte des Buchwesens, 62 (2008), 1- 105.

In The Title-Page (London, 2000), Margaret M. Smith surveyed the evolution of the title page in printed books from 1460 to 1 510. The first full-length study of the subject in English since A. W Pollard's Last Words on the History of the TitlePage (London, 1891; repr. New York, 1971), this handsome book was generally well received, not least because it was the first such study drawing to some extent on statistical analysis: Smith based her observations on approximately 4,200 of the c. 2 8,000 incunabula recorded in the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. Nevertheless, her approach suffered from one decided weakness: it was too unspecific in its geographical scope, relying too heavily for its exemplification on the (somewhat randomly acquired) collections of the British Library instead of focusing on books from particular towns or regions. Ursula Rautenberg and her team of collaborators are seeking to remedy this deficiency with a largescale research project, based at the University of Erlangen and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Their results are to be published in six lengthy studies, scheduled to appear in volumes 62, 63, and 64 of the Archiv fur Geschichte des Buchwesens. The lead paper, by Professor Rautenberg, in volume 62, outlines the project and traces the emergence of the tide page in Germany, with its development in the Netherlands and Venice as comparators. The same volume also contains Johanna Gummlich- Wagner's study of the tide page in Cologne (pp. 106-52). Similar case studies, by Oliver Duntze on Augsburg and Randall Herz on Nuremberg, will follow in volume 63, and the project will conclude with studies of the tide page in Strasbourg (by Ursula Rautenberg) and Basle (by Oliver Duntze and Gaby Kachelrieß) in volume 64.

The essential difference between Smith's and Rautenb erg's approach is that the latter strives to be much more precise in detailing the evolution of the tide page in specific periods, countries, towns, and indeed individual printing houses. Starting out from 13,768 incunabula, of which 8,409, 1,946, and 3,413 were printed in Germany, the Netherlands, and Venice respectively, she identified 3,649 German, 772 Low Countries, and 1,134 Venetian editions as having printed title pages, and built up a database detailing their content (form of tide, publication details, illustrations, printer's devices, decorative borders, etc. …

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