First published in 2007, this volume explores the importance of correspondence and communication to cultural exchanges in early modern Europe. Leading historians examine the correspondence of scholars, scientists, spies, merchants, politicians, artists, collectors, noblemen, artisans, and even illiterate peasants. Geographically the volume ranges across the whole of Europe, occasionally going beyond its confines to investigate exchanges between Europe and Asia or the New World. Above all, it studies the different networks of exchange in Europe and the various functions and meanings that correspondence had for members of different strata in European society during the early age of printing. This entails looking at different material supports from manuscripts and printed letters to newsletters and at different types of exchanges from the familial, scientific and artistic to political and professional correspondence. This is a ground-breaking reassessment of the status of information in early modern Europe and a major contribution to the field of information and communication.
Introduction Francisco Bethencourt and Florike Egmond; Part I. Networks and Markets of Information: 1. From merchants' letters to handwritten avvisi. Notes on the origins of public information Mario Infelise; 2. Handwritten newsletters as means of communication in Europe Renate Pieper and Zsuzsa Barbarics; 3. Merchant letters across geographical and social boundaries Francesca Trivellato; 4. Correspondence and natural history in the sixteenth century: cultures of exchange in the circle of Carolus Clusius Florike Egmond; Part II. Uses and Meanings of Correspondence: Artists, Patrons, Collectors: 5. Letters and portraits: economy of time and chivalrous service in courtly life Fernando Bouza; 6. The letter as deferred presence: Nicolas Poussin to Paul Freart de Chantelou. 28 April 1639 Peter Mason; 7. The role of correspondence in the transmission of collecting patterns in seventeenth-century Europe: models, media and main characters Irene Baldriga; Part III. Uses and Meanings of Correspondence: Noblemen, Peasants, Spies: 8. The political correspondence of Albuquerque and Cortes Francisco Bethencourt; 9. Spying in the Ottoman Empire: sixteenth-century encrypted correspondence Dejanirah Couto; 10. The correspondence of illiterate peasants in early modern Hungary Istvan Grigor Toth.
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