Structuring Information: Printed Tables as Organizing Tools in Early Modern Europe

Ashley Gonik, M.A.

In my dissertation, I study the production and reception of printed tables in early modern Europe. These tools of information management appeared in myriad humanistic and scientific genres for over two centuries. Primarily, I investigate how tables were made by authors and print workers from the incunable era through the seventeenth century. I also consider how contemporary audiences used the tables, often but not always in conjunction with the accompanying text. By analyzing the lifecycle of printed tables from their origins to their reception, I examine why they were included in certain kinds of books and whether genres with a large tabular presence have any other distinguishing characteristics. I build on recent efforts to pluralize the sites of knowledge production beyond universities and courts, in particular by foregrounding craft techniques and material objects that transmitted information between historical actors.

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