The Renaissance Footprint: The Material Trace in Print Culture from Durer to Spenser

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This article argues that Renaissance print culture appropriated the cultural meanings of the footprint. The potent analogy between the printing press and printing foot informed Reformation debates over Christ’s footprints as objects of devotion and subjects of representation. In sixteenth-century England a model for investigative reading informed by Erasmian humanism was developed in the print projects of George Gascoigne and Edmund Spenser. Experimentation with effects of the press and the material environment of the page culminated in extensive play upon the material and metaphorical sign of the printing foot in Spenser’s “Amoretti.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-529
Number of pages52
JournalRenaissance Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Special thanks are due to the following: Kathy Acheson, Anthony Bale, Louisa Coles, Ian Gadd, Jane Geddes, Alastair Gordon, Bridget Heal, Julia Kotzur, Kirk Melnikoff, Helen Pierce, Anne Prescott, Jason Scott Warren, and Sue Wiseman, as well as audiences in Berlin and London where versions of this paper were first presented.


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