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Renaissance Paratexts


Helen Smith, Louise Wilson, Matthew Day, Juliet Fleming, William H. Sherman, Sonia Massai, Neil Rhodes, Danielle Clarke, Jason Scott-Warren, Wendy Wall, Hester Lees-Jeffries, Peter Stallybrass
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  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107463424

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About the Authors
  • In his 1987 work Paratexts, the theorist Gérard Genette established physical form as crucial to the production of meaning. Here, experts in early modern book history, materiality and rhetorical culture present a series of compelling explorations of the architecture of early modern books. The essays challenge and extend Genette's taxonomy, exploring the paratext as both a material and a conceptual category. Renaissance Paratexts takes a fresh look at neglected sites, from imprints to endings, and from running titles to printers' flowers. Contributors' accounts of the making and circulation of books open up questions of the marking of gender, the politics of translation, geographies of the text and the interplay between reading and seeing. As much a history of misreading as of interpretation, the collection provides novel perspectives on the technologies of reading and exposes the complexity of the playful, proliferating and self-aware paratexts of English Renaissance books.

    • Draws together recent work in the field of book history with a range of other areas, including literary criticism, cultural history, translation and gender studies, appealing to readers from a range of disciplines
    • Extends and challenges Genette's analysis of the physical forms of the book through diverse and fresh perspectives by leading figures in the field
    • Generously illustrated throughout, allowing readers to see the material forms of early modern books
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this is a terrific volume that should be read by anyone interested in any aspect of early modern literature.' SEL Studies in English Literature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107463424
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 39 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Helen Smith and Louise Wilson
    Part I. Orders of the Book:
    1. 'Imprinted by Simeon such a signe': reading early modern imprints Helen Smith
    2. 'Intended to offenders': the running titles of early modern books Matthew Day
    3. Changed opinion as to flowers Juliet Fleming
    4. The beginning of 'The End': terminal paratext and the birth of print culture William H. Sherman
    Part II. Making Readers:
    5. Editorial pledges in early modern dramatic paratexts Sonia Massai
    6. Status anxiety and English Renaissance translation Neil Rhodes
    7. Playful paratexts: the front matter of Anthony Munday's Iberian Romance translations Louise Wilson
    8. 'Signifying, but not sounding': gender and paratext in the complaint genre Danielle Clarke
    Part III. Books and Users:
    9. Unannotating Spenser Jason Scott-Warren
    10. Reading the home: the case of The English Housewife Wendy Wall
    11. Pictures, places and spaces: Sidney, Wroth, Wilton House and the Songe de Poliphile Hester Lees-Jeffries
    Afterword Peter Stallybrass
    Select bibliography.

  • Editors

    Helen Smith, University of York
    Helen Smith is Lecturer in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature at the University of York. She has published widely on early modern textual culture and is currently completing a monograph, Grossly Material Things: Women and Textual Production in Early Modern England. She is Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, 'Conversion Narratives in Early Modern Europe'.

    Louise Wilson, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Louise Wilson is a Research Associate at the University of St Andrews, where she works on the MHRA Tudor and Stuart Translations series. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, working on Lukas Erne's forthcoming Shakespeare and the Book Trade. Louise has published on the paratexts and readerships of romance, and is currently completing a monograph entitled Humanism and Chivalric Romance in Tudor England.


    Helen Smith, Louise Wilson, Matthew Day, Juliet Fleming, William H. Sherman, Sonia Massai, Neil Rhodes, Danielle Clarke, Jason Scott-Warren, Wendy Wall, Hester Lees-Jeffries, Peter Stallybrass

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