Lesser, Zachary. Ghosts, Holes, Rips and Scrapes: Shakespeare in 1619, Bibliography in the Longue Durée. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021. 

The central methodological claim of Lesser’s case study is that an attention to the long and disparate lives of each individual copy helps us to better understand the making of the Jaggard Quartos and allows us to complicate the studies conducted by New Bibliographers, whose bibliographic descriptions and attendant explanations of the texts’ extant forms still condition contemporary approaches to bibliography. By carefully studying individual copies across long periods of time, Lesser provides a fuller picture of the material conditions of their production and use.

Benito Rial Costas (ed.), Aldo Manuzio en la España del Renacimiento. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (csic), 2019. Nueva Roma, Bibliotheca Graeca et Latina Aevi Posterioris 50.

This collective volume is the result of the work of a research seminar assembled in 2015, under the auspices of the Complutense University of Madrid (ucm), commemorating the fifth centenary of the death of the humanist and printer Aldus Manutius the Elder (c. 1450-1515). The overall objective of the text is to reexamine the impact of Manutius in Renaissance Spain by covering different areas and avoiding common places broadly accepted in the traditional historiography, such as the devotion, fame, and prestige around the paradigmatic yet idealized figure of Manutius the Elder.

Andie Silva, The Brand of Print: Marketing Paratexts in the Early English Book Trade.

*Disclaimer: the author of the book is the current editor of SHARP News, however she did not procure nor edit this review in any way.*

In a year where bookcase credibility has become a crucial part of academic life, with towers of texts teetering into every Zoom call, Andie Silva’s insistence on the book as cultural commodity in this thought-provoking and innovative monograph is particularly resonant. From the introduction, the originality of Silva’s work becomes apparent as she productively combines contemporary marketing theory and book history. Sidestepping the focus upon the author found in Erne and Kastan, Silva places our attention firmly on “print agents” – a capacious term which here includes printers, publishers, editors, translators, stationers, and book sellers. By exploring the actions of these print agents through marketing theory, this wide-ranging, perceptive book draws together both market choices and cultural value, convincingly and cogently linking the commercial and rhetorical characteristics of the early modern marketplace of books and ideas. Silva challenges the distinctions that often stymie early modern book history: between reading for profit and reading for pleasure, literary and non-literary texts, canonical woks and printed ephemera, manuscript and print. 

Pearson, David. Book Owners Online.

Book Owners Online (BOO) is the work of the distinguished book historian David Pearson and a technical team that have helped translate his long-respected bibliography “English Book Owners in the Seventeenth Century” into a digital platform. The growing database contains entries for just over 1,800 17th and 18th century British book owners.