Research Seminar: Margaret Meserve - “Heralds, Printers, and Humanists: Techniques of Publication in Early Modern Rome”


Location: Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

The Italian Research Seminar

“Heralds, Printers, and Humanists: Techniques of Publication in Early Modern Rome” - Margaret Meserve (Notre Dame)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 4:30pm in Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

This talk examines some of the ways in which political information circulated in Renaissance Rome. While recent scholarship has attended quite closely to the pasquinade as a vehicle for popular political and social resistance, other forms of political communication, from legal proclamations and papal bulls to ballads and prophecies, news reports, and international counter-propaganda also thrived in the papal city. I focus on the mechanics of official publication and promulgation in the city, surveying the “information circuit” that linked papal camera and chancery, civic government, local printing presses, curial humanists, and the particular sites in Rome where they posted their news, as well as the audiences for which they were intended, the evidence for their reception, and the ways in which these processes of promulgation and publication could be subverted by rival powers.

Margaret Meserve (Notre Dame) is a historian of the Italian Renaissance with special interests in Renaissance humanism and history-writing, the history of the book, the papal court, and the urban history of Renaissance Rome. Her prize-winning first book, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Harvard, 2008) explored how Renaissance humanists understood, reconstructed, or invented narratives of historical identity for contemporary Islamic powers, above all the Ottoman Empire. She is also the editor of Pope Pius II's autobiographical Commentaries for Harvard's I Tatti Renaissance Library. Her current project, The News Cycle in Renaissance Rome, examines the circulation of information and the production of printed news and political texts, both Latin and Italian, in Rome in the first half century of print, ca. 1470-1527. A graduate of Harvard University and the Warburg Institute in London, she has received grants and fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, American Academy in Rome, I Tatti, and the Newberry Library, where she is spending this year as an NEH research fellow.