The Introduction begins with a short case study of a street singer caught peddling prohibited print on the streets of Venice, as an introduction to the idea of the ‘ephemeral city’ of texts, people and actions that are difficult, but important, for historians to try to capture. It then surveys the historiography on cheap print and argues for the importance of this material in understanding how the printing press influenced early modern culture. It contends that Venice is a significant case study because of the early explosion of print but also the rapid establishment of mechanisms to control it. It then outlines the chapters of the book, addressing issues such as literacy, dissemination and censorship.
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