24 Nov 2011
Jean-Luc Deuffic

An experimental phase in the history of early printing : Fifteenth-century blockbooks

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Friedrich-von-Gärtner-Saal, 16-17 February 2012

In the context of a project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (http://www.dfg.de/index.jsp) the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of the Book of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, (http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/csb/) organizes the international conference \”An experimental phase in the history of early printing: Fifteenth-century blockbooks\”. During the conference, the exhibition \”From the ABC to the Apocalypse. Life, Faith and Death in Late Mediaeval Blockbooks\” will be opened which will be on show until 6 May 2012 in the treasure room of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

Blockbooks (xylographs) are books with a comparatively small number of pages which were produced in the fifteenth century from woodcuts and represent a form of transition between hand illuminated manuscripts and illustrated printed books. They count among the rarest and most precious items collected by libraries. Up to today, they raise numerous questions for bibliographical, art historical and philological research. Until recently, the problematic state of conservation of many blockbooks has severely hindered their scholarly examination. While cataloguing projects abroad, most recently in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, have produced important new insights regarding blockbooks, a systematic analysis of the xylographic holdings of German libraries is still outstanding.

Since 2009, all c. 90 copies of blockbooks owned by Bavarian institutions have been digitized after restoration of the damaged copies in the course of a project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The watermarks in the paper were documented with a newly developed technology (thermography or infra-red photography). The project thus constitutes an organic continuation of the projects funded by the DFG for digitizing the incunabula and 16th-century books printed in German territories held at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The digital reproductions of all blockbooks are accessible on the website of the Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online :
Alongside digitization, scholarly descriptions of the blockbooks are created which aim at a high bibliographic standard equivalent to the more recent international catalogues which reflects the importance of the items. After the end of the project, the descriptions will be made accessible in electronic form via the internet as well as in a printed catalogue.
The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss the results achieved by the project so far with representatives of various academic disciplines. The first day will focus on questions with regard to the materiality of the blockbooks, while the second will be devoted to questions of content, function and reception relating to a selection of examples.

Prospective participants are asked to register by 31 January 2012 online:
Participation in the conference is free.

Conference programme:

Donnerstag, 16.2.2012
Paul Needham (Princeton)
The paper stocks of blockbooks : Allan Stevenson and beyond
Richard Field (Yale)
Cutting remarks : A brief examination of the technique of the early woodcut
Ad Stijnman (Wolfenbüttel)
The colours of black : printing inks for blockbooks
16:30-17:00 Kaffeepause
Andrew Honey (Oxford)
The binding of blockbooks : searching for evidence of contemporary
binding methods
Rahel Bacher (München):
Erkenntnismöglichkeiten durch Digitalisierung und Thermographie: Produktionszyklen innerhalb einer Blockbuchausgabe
Eröffnung der Blockbuch-Ausstellung der BSB (mit Empfang)
Freitag, 17.2.2012
Nigel Palmer (Oxford)
Das erste Blockbuch?  Eine literaturwissenschaftliche Perspektive auf das Exercitium super Pater noster
Joost Robbe (Aarhus)
Zur Genese der niederländischen Typoxylografien des Speculum humanae salvationis
10:30-11:00 Kaffeepause
Peter Schmidt (München)
Das Canticum Canticorum im Rahmen der Text-Bild-Geschichte, Exegese und
Sabine Griese (Leipzig)
Das Zeitglöcklein. Strategien der Gebetsandacht
12:30-14:00 Mittagspause
Almut Breitenbach (Münster)
Text in Bewegung. Die Septimania poenalis in Blockdruck und handschriftlicher Überlieferung
Susanne Rischpler (Wien/Würzburg)
Bild und Text in der Ars memorandi
15:30-16:00 Kaffeepause
Richard Kremer (Dartmouth College, Hanover)
A Census of All Known Copies of Regiomontanus’s Blockbook Calendar : New Technologies, New Questions, New Findings?
Frank Fürbeth (Frankfurt)
Das Verhältnis der Überlieferung von Handschrift und Blockbuch bei der Johannes Hartlieb zugeschriebenen Chiromantie
Oliver Duntze (Berlin)
Zum komplexen Verhältnis von xylographischer und typographischer Schrift : Die Blockbuchausgaben der Ars minor des Aelius Donatus
18:15-18:30 Schlussdiskussion

Dr. Bettina Wagner
Abteilung fuer Handschriften und Alte Drucke
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Ludwigstr. 16
D-80539 Muenchen
email : bettina.wagner@bsb-muenchen.de
Tel. +89 / 28638-2982
Fax. +89 / 28638-12982 oder 2266
postbox : D-80328 Muenchen

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