Workshop: Possession and use
Books in the hands of citizens
Date:02.12.2021 bis 03.12.2021
The question of the indexing of books in their context of use in the early modern period is currently the subject of intense debate. The focus is on cultures of collecting (such as private libraries or archives), on practices of reading and annotating, or on methodological ways of indexing and analyzing textual artifacts in terms of "book biographies". The workshop is connected to a conference in the City Museum of Berlin in 2019, which was dedicated to Hans Plock (ca. 1490-1570), a silk embroiderer originally from Mainz who lived in Halle (Saale) for many years, and his book possessions. Plock, a luxury craftsman, dealt intensively with theological, political and other aspects of the Reformation period, especially in the Luther Bible edition (1541), which he annotated and illustrated in collage form. Plock also left his traces in a Sensenschmidt Bible and an anthology of Reformation pamphlets. The workshop in Wittenberg is going to broaden the perspective by taking a more systematic and comparative look at bourgeois book ownership and use from the 15th to the 17th century.
Besides ecclesiastical institutions and members of the nobility, it was especially wealthy and educated citizens who acquired books, some of them even building up larger book collections. The spectrum here ranges from scholars to urban leadership groups to craftsmen, merchants and tradesmen. Function and significance of book ownership in the hands of the middle classes, however, varied in the different social, political and cultural contexts. It seems reasonable to assume that this also had an impact on the way books were treated. How was the object "book" treated? Did book ownership also mean book reading? What did the practice of reading look like in the various middle-class milieus? What was important, what was understood and perhaps also passed on, and how? Can differences between male and female book ownership and book use be determined, how can bourgeois and aristocratic or clerical use of books be distinguished?
These questions will be investigated and discussed in an interdisciplinary approach, with particular attention to the traces of use: Marginal notes, signs and drawings, added pictures and coats of arms, annotations and underlinings are considered forms of acquisition of books and their contents, as well as exchanges in which owners enter into dialog both with authors and with the books as objects.
To participate in this workshop, it is not necessary to have attended the conference on Hans Plock in the City Museum of Berlin in 2019. Unless the development of the Coronavirus pandemic in December 2021 allows the implementation of the workshop in Wittenberg, the event will be held as an online meeting. Registration is requested.
Prof. Dr. Claudine Moulin ( TCDH Trier)
Dr. Matthias Meinhardt (Lutherstadt Wittenberg)
A program of the workshop will be available for download shortly.
Registration is requested.