In the early modern period, books were the most important medium of cultural and scientific exchange. The trade in books and the translation of books were two major aspects in this process. This presentation aims to introduce a research project at the KU Leuven (Belgium) that examines the specific contribution of books published in the Southern Netherlands and their role in early modern globalisation. This investigation encompasses four sub-projects, three of which analyse the importance of books from Southern Netherlands for the cultural life of early modern Spanish America. These focus on the viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, New Granada, and Rio de la Plata. The poster introduces the sub-project about the viceroyalty of Peru, thereby outlining the use of digital tools in this research context.
The fourth sub-project looks at book translations produced in the Southern Netherlands. It aims to increase our understanding of the world-system of translations as it existed (and evolved) during the early modern period.
All four sub-projects are unique, in that for the first time, they harness the potential offered by the digitalisation of books and library catalogues allowing us to arrive at more comprehensive conclusions than could be reached in the past.
The two show-cased sub-projects were facilitated by the use of online tools and the effective use of standard software. They are exemplary for new approaches to research questions which could not be posed earlier, because the data was not accessible and/or the amount of resulting detailed information could not be appropriately analysed.
The book trade projects prove the existence of a global network spanning three hundred years, while content analysis based case studies and comparisons made to books by Peruvian authors in the early modern period reveal how publications originating from the Southern Netherlands influenced intellectual elites in the Spanish Colonies. The translation project has documented how translation was used to bolster the image of the Spanish Monarchy and advance the cause of the Counter Reformation.
This presentation gives an overview of the methodological steps needed to answer the research questions and it presents the digital tools employed in these tasks.
The main section provides exemplary representative results based on the evaluation of metadata collected from digital resources such as library catalogues. This data was analysed using standard MS office software.
Initial results have already been published in various articles. More comprehensive results are awaiting publication.