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Ideas for Dissertation Topics

  • Research an author and how they used the press eg. Erasmus, Pietro Aretino, Vittoria Colonna, Veronica Franco, Pietro Bembo, Lodovico Ariosto, Castiglione, Machiavelli
  • Research the business strategies of a particular printer eg. Manuzio, Jenson, Sweynheym and Pannartz, Ripoli convent press (could be comparative with a foreign printer like Caxton)
  • Translations – what works were translated from Latin/Greek into the vernacular? which Italian works disseminated through Europe via translation? (see the Renaissance Cultural Crossroads database)
  • Reproduction of artistic works in print - how did these change the business of art and role of the artist?
  • Scientific/technical texts and images – how did these change the dissemination of knowledge?
  • Printed maps/city-views – how did the image of a particular city develop in print? how did these images change people's sense of local/global identity (cf. also costume books)?
  • Research the relationship between print and humanism/Renaissance culture – how did humanists react to the press? When and how were humanist and classical texts printed? How did these spread humanism to the rest of Europe?
  • Censorship – compare religious and secular attempts at censorship. How effective were they? What impact did the Protestant and Catholic Reformations have on Italian censorship?
  • The development of copyright – how did this change rights of author/printer? See Primary Sources of the History of Copyright
  • Early debates surrounding the press – compare the views of writers like Filippo de Strata, Anton Francesco Doni, Erasmus, Leonardo Fioravanti.
  • The Books of Secrets in print - see the Italian Books of secrets database
  • The spread of printing to the new world - see Colonization and Print in the Americas
  • The guerre in ottava rima genre of news poems - how did they transmit information about the Italian wars? How do they reflect the interaction of print and orality?
  • Renaissance festival books - how did they represent political events and rulers?