In recent years, literary scholars have come increasingly to acknowledge that an adequate understanding of texts requires the study of books, the material objects through which the meanings of texts are constructed. Focusing on French poetry in the period 1400-1600, contributors to this volume analyze layout, illustration, graphology, paratext, typography, anthologization, and other such elements in works by a variety of writers, among them Charles d'Orléans, Jean Bouchet, Pierre de Ronsard and Louise Labé. They demonstrate how those elements play a crucial role in shaping the relationships between authors, texts, contexts, and readers, and how these relationships change as the nature of the book evolves. An introduction to the volume outlines the methodological implications of studying the materiality of literature in this period; situates the various papers in relation to each other and to the field as a whole; and indicates possible future directions of research in the field. By engaging with issues of major current methodological concern, this volume appeals to all scholars interested in the materiality of the literary text, including the burgeoning field of text-image studies, not only in French but also in other national literatures. In addition, it enables fruitful connections to be made between late-medieval and Renaissance literature, areas still often studied in isolation from each other.
’... the best essays [...] offer a sophisticated integration of the techniques of literary criticism and the historical research on which mise-en-livre [...] depends.’ Rare Books Newsletter ’The collection is prefaced by a sophisticated introduction by Armstrong, tracing complex patterns and contrasts of approach in the various contributions and complemented by a full bibliography... an overall stimulating and valuable contribution to our understanding of print and manuscript culture in France during this transition period.’ Modern Language Review ’The book is finely edited, presented, and produced - a testament to the subject at hand. The rare mix of manuscripts and print sources makes for a revaluation of these (still) concurrent modes of textual communication well into the sixteenth century and the challenges of evolving works, customized copies, and variant germane to the lingering dawn of printing.’ H-France Review ’For those interested in French poetry, Book and Text in France, 1400-1600 is a fascinating read.’ Sixteenth Century Journal