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Emden as a centre of the sixteenth-century book trade A catalogue of the bookseller Gaspar Staphorst

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This paper offers an analysis of an unusual source: a broadsheet bill of wares published in 1567 by the sixteenth-century Emden bookseller Gaspar Staphorst. Staphorst is a figure who has not previously figured prominently in the history of the north German and Netherlandish book trade, but it is clear from this document (discovered among papers in the Public Record Office, London) that he ran a very considerable business. A reconstruction of the editions offered for sale reveals that most were high quality Latin works, published for the most part in the major centres of Reformed publishing: Basle, Strasburg, Zurich and especially Geneva. The vernacular editions offered for sale, smaller groups of French, German, Italian and Dutch texts, were also overwhelming works of Protestant, and generally Reformed scholarship. The character and range of the works listed suggests that Staphorst was intending with this list to penetrate the English market, a market with a proven appetite for the high quality Latin editions that make up the bulk of his stock. If this was the case this catalogue offers further corroboration of Emden's ambition to develop its international trade at a critical moment for the history of the established international emporium of Antwerp.


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