The 2012 Panizzi Lectures

Women, Books and Communities in Renaissance Italy

Professor Brian Richardson

This series of lectures will survey the involvement of laywomen and nuns in the circulation of written texts during the Italian Renaissance, and especially in the sixteenth century. What roles did women play when their own works or those by male authors were first issued? What texts might women copy by hand? How far could they become concerned in the making and selling of printed books? By what means did books come into their possession? In considering questions such as these, the lectures will also investigate some of the functions that books could have in shaping women’s engagement with the different kinds of communities to which they might belong.

Brian Richardson is Professor of Italian Language at the University of Leeds. His publications include Print Culture in Renaissance Italy: The Editor and the Vernacular Text, 1470-1600 (1994), Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy (1999), Manuscript Culture in Renaissance Italy (2009) and editions of sixteenth-century texts on Italian linguistics. He is currently leading a project on oral culture in relation to manuscript and print in early modern Italy.


Lecture One Monday 15 October 2012 18.15-19.30

CIRCULATING BOOKS in the Conference Centre This lecture will focus on the initial circulation of texts. How did women authors promote the publication of their own works in manuscript and print? How did women who had privileged ownership of manuscript texts diffuse them within their communities? To what extent and why was the patronage of women sought through dedications?


Lecture Two Monday 22 October 2012 18.15-19.30

MAKING AND SELLING BOOKS in the Conference Centre How far could women participate in producing and selling books? The lecture will consider how convents could be centres for the copying of manuscripts for their own use or for sale, and how some nuns and laywomen became involved in publishing, printing and bookselling. Lecture Three Monday 29 October 2012 18.15-19.30 ACQUIRING BOOKS in the Conference Centre How did women of all social classes gain access to books as their owners and readers? This final lecture will examine a variety of means through which women could gain possession of books, including commissions of manuscripts, purchases, gifts and inheritance, and borrowing from other members of their communities.

Free Admission Please note that these events are not ticketed and seats will be allocated on the night on a first come, first served basis. For further details see .

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