- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay addresses the burgeoning field of global studies of print culture by examining the rich history of early modern Armenian print culture and book history, both it is own right and comparatively with their counterparts in the European and Islamic worlds.. Drawing on a variety of primary sources (colophons, notarial documents, and correspondence between printers), it makes two significant contributions to the broader scholarship on print culture and book history. First, it restores to the historiography of global print a valuable case study of a Near Eastern print tradition thus far missing from it. Second and more vital, unlike the recent spate of case studies involving South Asian, Persian, and Arabic print histories, it examines an Asian print tradition that stretches back to the first phase of printing, coinciding and overlapping with the early modern period and also with the “hand press” era of printing before the onset of the Industrial Revolution. It argues that from its inception in Venice in 1512 until roughly the early 1800s, the history of Armenian print culture was not only linked to its European counterpart but, much like it, was closely entangled with that of port cities, initially in Europe and subsequently in Asia, where Armenian long-distance merchants, or “port Armenians,” were settled.