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.

John Boardley. Typographic Firsts: Adventures in Early Printing

For centuries, humans have been surrounded by printed material. It is easy to ignore that certain typographic elements we take for granted now were, at some point, a novelty. John Boardley’s Typographic Firsts, published by the Bodleian Library, creates awareness for these developments that (mainly) started in the fifteenth century and still shape our books (even the digital ones) in the twenty-first century.

Introducing Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers

In the absence of in-person conferences and networking opportunities due to COVID-19, SHARP News is pleased to present a new feature, Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers. Early Editions pairs an emerging researcher with an established SHARPist with similar interests and flips the script: through informal dialogue, the established scholar introduces the work and interests of the early-career researcher to the broader SHARP community. Our first conversation is between Joe Saunders, PhD student at the University of York, and Ian Gadd, Professor in English Literature at Bath Spa University.

Pier Mattia Tommasino, The Venetian Qur’an: A Renaissance Companion to Islam

Published in the Material Texts series of the University of Pennsylvania Press, Pier Mattia Tommasino’s The Venetial Qur’an is an exemplary work of textual scholarship and a fascinating exploration of the political, religious, and literary milieu of sixteenth-century Italy. Remarkable both for its impressive erudition and refreshing readability, this monograph delves into the history of the (presumably) first translation of the Qur’an from Arabic into a European vernacular language. ☛ ☞