Early Modern Print Publishings

By: John Roger Paas  

In the early modern period popular prints were produced for a mass market and tell us much about the historical and cultural context at the time. Regrettably, much of this important visual material has been lost, so that frequently we have only a handful of prints from publishers who were active for decades. An exception is the publishing firm of the Altzenbachs, who were at the center of the print trade in Cologne from roughly 1609 to 1680. I have been able to locate over 600 prints that they published, and these reveal the depth and breadth of their activities. They help to bring us closer to understanding the business practices of early print publishers, men who had to be shrewd businessmen in a very competitive market. My talk will be illustrated with numerous images.

Early Print Publishing
Publishing Practices: Past, Present, and Future
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

John Roger Paas

William H. Laird Professor of German and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus, German Department, Carleton College, retired, United Kingdom
United Kingdom

I taught for 40 years at Carleton College in Northfield. MN, where I offered courses on German language and literature, European cultural history, and the history and practice of printing. I am now retired and living in the UK, where I have an affiliation with the Print Room of the British Museum. My research has from the beginning focused on Germany in the 17th century, and what has long intrigued me is the interplay between authors, artists, and publishers in the early modern period. My work on various projects has led me to spend extended periods in Europe, where I have worked in over 100 museums, archives, libraries, and private collections in 13 countries. In the process I have uncovered a wealth of new material that adds significantly to our understanding of the early modern period. Some of the results are available in the books I have published: The German Political Broadsheet, 1600-1700, 14 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1985-2017); Hollstein's German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts 1400-1700, vols. 38-41 (Roosendaal and Rotterdam, 1994-95); Effigies et Poesis: An Illustrated Catalogue of Printed Portratis with Laudatory Verses by German Baroque Poets, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 1988): Augsburg, die Bilderfabrik Europas: Essay zur Augsburger Druckgraphik der Frühen Neuzeit (Augsburg: Wißner Verlag, 2001); and Gestochen in Augsburgt: Forschungen und Beiträge zur Geschichte der Augsburger Druckgraphik (Augsburg: Wißner Verlag, 2013). I have also written numerous articles, some of which have appeared in the Gutenberg Jahrbuch, the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, and the Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens.