Over and over again we hear that the printed book is disappearing; some of the more inflammatory appeals even refer to ‘the death of the book’. Who killed the book? Computers, tablets, e-readers, and other technological tools have become the primary suspects. Indirectly, Amazon and other online retailers have been charged with accessory to murder. It was reported that the cyber world was a hostile environment for the printed book.
It is probably extreme to announce the death of the book. According to some reports, e-book sales have surpassed printed book sales in at least some areas of the market — but the printed book continues to be an important object in the way we communicate, transfer, and safeguard knowledge. The new fields of study that have been developed such as book history, material culture, and so on, have now expanded the book as both object and concept, and they have allowed us to revitalize the book under fresh perspectives.
For its final seminar of 2015, on November 27th, the Centre for the History of the Book welcomed Dr Bruno Tribout to present “The mazarinades after Mazarin: literary memory and political criticism in the reign of Louis XIV.” The Fronde was a period of civil wars in France during which opposition from the princes, nobility, and the courts of Paris confronted the monarchy during the years 1648 to 1653. And the mazarinades appeared during these years of the Fronde as anti-government pamphlets that commonly attacked Cardinal Mazarin in particular. Cardinal Mazarin had been the Chief Minister for Louis XIII until the king’s death in 1642 and continued to wield influence alongside his widow Anne until Louis XIV’s ascension to the throne. The term for the pamphlets, clearly derived from the Cardinal’s name, was first popularized with Paul Scarron’s pamphlet of that title in 1651.
Une moitié de Paris imprime ou vend des imprimés; l’autre en consomme.
Half of Paris prints or sells pamphlets; the other consumes them.