We are examining new sources for the European dimension of early modern news, integrating Ireland and elsewhere into the network of circulation, 1550-1700, to understand a forgotten but highly significant media landscape
Before modern times, news circulated in the form of weekly or biweekly semi-public manuscript newsletters (also called avvisi), a Renaissance invention consisting of usually anonymous sheets, reproduced in multiple copies, which eventually became the basis of the first printed journalism. Until now the structures of distribution have been better known than the matter distributed, an imbalance created by the sheer volume of material as well as by the technical obstacles to massive analysis. So far, conjectures about what there was in this material that could have shaped peoples’ lives, mental horizons and views of the world have been based on little or no evidence or else on printed sources, which at first circulated only sporadically, and then drew directly upon the manuscript networks. The Medici papers at the state archive in Florence contain the largest and most varied repository of this source, including sheets originating from all over Europe, bearing news from everywhere including Ireland, Scandinavia, the eastern Mediterranean, Asia and the New World. EURONEWS proposes to study this repository with a view to re-creating the news environment that shaped early modern times.
EURONEWS is funded by the Irish Research Council, through IRCLA/2019/41 and is hosted by University College Cork in collaboration with the Medici Archive Project.
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Watch our P.I., Brendan Dooley, explaining the object of our quest, in a brief presentation of the project, entitled “Newsletters: what’s in a name?”.