Building a Digital Bookwheel Together. Annotated Books Online and the History of Early Modern Reading Practices

Richard Calis, Arnoud Visser


Over the past three decades, the history of reading has become an increasingly lively field of scholarship. Important case studies have documented the freedom that individual readers have enjoyed in handling their books. On a structural level, however, the scholarship has been hampered by limited access to an inherently fragmented body of evidence. This article introduces a new research project, Annotated Books Online (ABO), which aims to provide a platform for the study of manuscript annotations in early modern printed books. ABO offers an open-access research environment where scholars and students can collect and view new evidence, as well as collaborate on transcriptions, translations, and new research initiatives. To illuminate the promising potential of new research on marginalia and adumbrate the challenges ahead, the second part of this article offers a case study of three intriguing annotated copies of Homer, once owned by the German reformer Philipp Melanchthon (Columbia University Library, Plimpton 880 1517 H37).


Humanism; Philipp Melanchthon; Martin Luther; Marginalia; Annoted Books Online

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2283-9364/5712


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ISSN 2283-9364 – ISSN-L 2280-7934
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