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Branding the Revival of Knowledge

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Leuven University Press and the Renaissance of Typography, 1759

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In 1759, a patented University Press was established in Leuven. This article examines the historical context in which the idea of a university press took root. It describes into more detail the roles played by the university librarian Corneille-François Nelis and by the head of the Privy Council in Brussels, Patrice-François de Neny. Their correspondence proves that the librarian in particular considered the new press as an instrument to improve the quality of academic publishing, not least by paying the utmost attention to the typographic design of the press’s publications. Nelis introduced neoclassical aesthetics in the typographical world of the southern Low Countries. His views call to mind the concept of branding. The article then explores how this modern concept can be used to better understand the press’s marketing strategy during its first years, and to explain why it failed to realize the ambitions of its founders.

Affiliations: 1: University of AntwerpBelgium


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