Alicia C. Montoya and Rindert Jagersma
Marketing Maria Sibylla Merian, 1720 – 1800. Book Auctions, Gender, and Reading Culture in the Dutch Republic
In: Book History, 21 (2018), pp. 56-88.

DOI: 10.1353/bh.2018.0002
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This article uses Dutch auction catalogues to trace the eighteenth-century reception and circulation of the works of the prominent natural scientist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). It opens up discussion of book history methodologies by demonstrating how auction catalogues can be used to study the public personas of collectors, book ownership, authorial reputation, the literary market, and reading practices. Addressing issues more specifically of gender and reading culture, it nuances the inherited assumption that women collectors showed a clear preference for works by other women, and draws attention to the collective nature of book collecting practices and literary reputations.

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About the journal:
BOOK HISTORY is a semiannual (previously annual) scholarly journal devoted to every aspect of the history of the book, broadly defined as the creation, dissemination, reception, and use of script, print, and mediacy. The journal publishes research on authorship, editing, printing, publishing, media, the book arts, the book trade, periodicals, newspapers, ephemera, copyright, censorship, literary agents, libraries, literary criticism, canon formation, literacy, literary education, reading habits, and reader response. (This is not an exhaustive list.) The journal is open to all disciplines and methodologies, and it will consider articles dealing with any literary culture and any historical period. Case studies should aim their analysis at larger issues in book history.

Portret van Maria Sibylla Merian, Jacob Houbraken, after Georg Gsell, 1708 – 1780. Rijksmuseum, RP-P-2004-73-119