Saturday, May 24, 2008

Browsing for Books in the Sixteenth Century

If you were browsing through a bookshop in sixteenth century Lyon, what would you find? According to Louis Bourgeois in Quand la cour de France vivait à Lyon (Fayard 1980), book production in the city at mid-century fell into roughly these categories:
  • 28% of books treated religious subjects;
  • 12% were dedicated to science and the arts (medicine and philosophy being most the popular);
  • 33% could be considered belles-lettres  (grammar, Latin and neo-Latin literature, French poetry and prose);
  • 6% discussed history;
  • the remaining 21% were mostly texts of Roman, canon and French law.

  • Good thing Lyon was far from the beach--not a lot of light reading to choose from!

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