This project aims to reconstruct popular reading trends to revise understanding of European enlightenment and the transformational impact of print. Through an innovative, industry-wide digital survey of unprecedented scope and sophistication, tracking millions of copies of thousands of titles and all sectors of the book trade – legal, pirate and contraband – it asks: What books were widely read? Where were they produced and consumed? What was the relative scale and nature of key parts of the trade – notably religious and illegal publishing? How cosmopolitan was popular reading? The project also aims to reflect on its digital methods and develop transferable technologies for studying print’s impact across time and space.
The project’s five strands address:
- Piracy and Publishing in Pre-Revolutionary France;
- The Illegal Book Trade Revisited;
- Mapping the French Novel;
- Connecting Cultural Datasets;
- Conceptual Assessment of Digital Humanities Techniques.
French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe
Best Digital Resource for 2017
Awarded by the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies