Chapbooks are a peculiar strata of the early modern book production. They created a market of their own - rivalling the bigger market of potentially more expensive books - with typical cheap designs, rough illustrations, often extremely antiquated text sources, and special distruibution channels. Many of the titles printed into the early 19th century preserved projects of the earliest book market.
The seminar could focus on
- the genres of titles on this market (reaching from popular sciences to histories and religion),
- the patterns of tradition (some of the titles went through dozens of editions from the 15th into the 18th century without greater textual changes),
- the ways these titles kept a distance from the more prestigious market of books (such differences are especially remarkable with all the adaptations of bestsellers of the belles lettres on the cheap market,
- the self awareness of this market ("chapbook" is not quite the word one would have used in the 17th or 18th centuries to speak about these titles - it would be interesting to find out how contemporaries localised this market within the broader spectrum of books).
I planned such a seminar for summer 2007 and withdrew the offer when other work appeared to be more urgent. --Olaf Simons 12:33, 19 April 2007 (CEST)