Corps de l’article

While a rich scholarly production has mapped the tropes of travel literature and the changes in the forms of travel heading toward the ruins of past civilizations in Italy, Greece and the Ottoman Empire, less attention has been given to the coterminous geography of production and distribution of print culture along a North-South axis that accompanied these travelers at a time when the practice of issuing unauthorized cheap reprints in the continent fueled a rhetoric of stigmatization of foreign products, which went counter to the imagined open horizons and transformative experiences of travel on the Grand Tour.[2] Book historians and cultural historians interested in the question of mediation have often privileged a monolingual or, at most, bilingual approach, which has zeroed in on the popularity of, for instance, English and French literature on the continent along an East- (and, for British authors, South-) bound trajectory of dissemination.[3] While the collective work Histoire des traductions under the direction of Yvres Chevrel, Lieven D’Huilst and Christine Lombez (2012) has offered an exhaustive study of the genres and practices of translation into French in the course of the nineteenth century, a comprehensive study of nineteenth century cultural transfer cannot avoid a discussion of the less visible circulation of works directly in foreign languages (not only in French). Only few publishers of foreign language editions have acquired a canonical status in scholarly literature.[4] Equally crucial in a history of culture transfer is the less-known translation practice, by publishers active in Central and Northern Europe, of translating their national literatures into foreign languages, another area that has been overlooked in collective projects such as Biblio TF, Histoire des traductions, and Atlas of the European Novel.[5]

In reference to the circulation of foreign-language editions, the canonicity of the names of continental publishers-booksellers such as the Parisian bookseller Galignani and the Leipzig-based publisher Tauchnitz needs to be reconsidered, as well as the activities of other established names beside Galignani and Tauchnitz, i.e. Baudry, Baillière and Bossange, who have often been discussed to stigmatize the publication of unauthorized editions of British authors on the continent, often ignoring the widespread practice among British (and other national) publishers of issuing similar editions.[6] A discussion of the books available to real or imaginary travelers on the Grand Tour is, therefore, interlinked with the question of unauthorized cheap reprints, which crossed borders freely, and with the formalization of a discourse of cultural nationalism that sought protectionist measures in the book trade. The profession of translators, too, was co-opted into the increasingly monopolistic national culture industries of each modern state.[7] My aim is, therefore, to chart the complex dynamics of the continental trade and the restructuring of the industry that was coterminous with the increased mobility of travelers on the Grand Tour, often in order to meet the equally shifting demands for popular authors and for specific books associated with the symbolic power of the destinations of the Grand Tour. The references to the editions marketed by Bossange have at times been made to chart a geography of the book trade in which the entrepreneurial expansion of the French industry in the German territories would feature along a “Franco-German axis.”[8] The implied narrative strategy of the Franco-German axis, however, zeroes in on the assumed irresistible dominance of the French know-how in irradiating to the rest of Europe or in incorporating neighbouring areas, such as the German territories, to the core area of the Parisian capital.[9] Doing so, however, edges out the preceding effectively transnational and polycentric history of the trade that enabled these commercial firms to consolidate their success with the support of favourable protectionist laws that supported, in the mid- to late-nineteenth century industry, the national publishing industry in their assumed irresistible expansion. In granting more visibility to lesser-known traders operating in several interconnected centers of production and dissemination of foreign language editions, together with books associated with the most revered destinations of the Grand Tour, I wish to complicate the geography of the book trade, often limited to well-known commercial routes like the West-bound trajectory of French works in central Europe, to account for a more entangled history that escapes a national focus and points to the “tensions of the transnational” present in the book trade.[10]

While the study of the transnational, often monolingual book trade has become an important shared methodology for book historians, as attested by many recent SHARP conferences and collective works such as Across Boundaries edited by Bill Bell, Philip Bennett & Jonquil Bevan (2000), or Books Without Borders edited by Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond (2008), a national or at most binational focus misses out on a more complex map of the interconnected and transnational production and dissemination of nineteenth-century print culture. A monolingual approach is a retrospective projection imposed by a national history angle, which overlooks the linguistic hybridity that characterized the pan-European industry overall, but also the metropole and its relation to the colonial outposts.[11] Equally problematic is the focus on the activities of select publishers whose existing and often misleading archives dictate their inevitably vitiated visibility in the genre of the house history. The modalities of production and dissemination of print culture over a broader extension of territory not overlapping with national borders, as is the case of the literature circulating at the time of the Grand Tour, resist a narrative that singles out individual agencies that dominated the market thanks to their assumed awe-inspiring commercial shrewdness. Archival records for the nineteenth century book industry are notoriously sparse and often missing, requiring us to retrace the activities of these traders by means of an extensive recensio (review and comparison) of title-pages of the editions of these now lesser-known publishers. An invaluable resource in my research has been the detailed records of the Leipzig Book Fair for the period 1800–1860, which I combined with a study of useful collections such as the fond Q10 of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, or the John Spiers Collection of Victorian and Edwardian Fiction, as well as the title pages of countless editions in several national libraries. My research and the alternative archive that I reconstructed enable me to explore this complexity and to question traditional charts of the flow of books, by exploring a lesser-known trajectory that connected Northern and Southern Europe in a reciprocal relation of trade and culture transfer, in particular the areas that were the destinations of the real or imagined Grand Tour, often through publications that would fascinate readers in expectation of the real thing. The symbolic value of these destinations offered book-dealers occasions to develop their activities through several strategies, including the specialization of the scope of activities of book-dealers-publishers “on the move,” who operated in satellite cities such as Turin, Athens and Istanbul, and were incorporated in centers of production such as Leipzig.

Transnationalism and Multiple Agencies in the Nineteenth Century Book Industry before Copyright Law

I shall focus first on the two best-known names associated with the trade of foreign language editions on the continent, Galignani and Tauchnitz, in order to articulate a new narrative of the trade in foreign-language editions, and of the material Grand Tour these editions underwent while feeding the curiosities and fantasies of countless readers. I propose to place their histories within a wider context that resists two common approaches: one emphasizes individual agency at the expense of the existing trade networks; the other insists only on the “legitimate” products by several national culture industries that left traces in the often partial archives of national libraries, circulating libraries and national bibliographies. Galignani’s activities need to be seen not only in stark opposition to the rising star of Tauchnitz that presumably spelled out the Parisian firm’s decline. Galignani, together with his business partner Parsons, had sold since the early years of the nineteenth century English language editions in slender booklets printed by the Imperial Press: the publication of Henry Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling was volume 48 in 1807 in their series “Prose and Poetry.” Ascribing to the increasingly established success of the “Collection of British and American Authors” printed by Tauchnitz the reasons for Galignani’s eclipse, however, places too much emphasis on an arguably unbeatable entrepreneurial prowess on the part of the German counterpart, while at the same time dismissing the more complex history of collaborative production in the continental sale of British and French authors, and the pan-European practices that shaped this industry. The opening title of Tauchnitz’ series, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Pelham, or the Adventures of a Gentleman (1841), capitalized on Bulwer’s pan-European success as author of best-sellers as popular if not more popular than the often-studied Walter Scott and Oliver Goldsmith. Bulwer was widely available in the market of cheap reprints in the years immediately preceding the much celebrated “copyright editions” issued by Tauchnitz: another Leipzig publisher, Fleischer, published Bulwer’s complete works, which were also translated into Danish and issued by Brummer in Copenhagen. The bookseller Galignani in Paris therefore joined a widespread trend in the pan-Euroepan book trade, shared also in the same period by Asher in Berlin. The popularity of these best-selling authors in the original language needs to be seen within the operations of a wider market that circulated works in several other languages. The question of copyright is crucial, but it does not imply that the issue was gleefully ignored by these traders, since the industry attempted to solve the question of unauthorized reprints, which a nationalist rhetoric would easily associate with an “invasion” of foreign products from the very same countries that were crossed on the Grand Tour by British and French travelers.

Charles Bernhard Freiherr von Tauchnitz’s firm, which produced in the 1820s French-German dictionaries, was by no means the first to issue and advertise its own editions as copyright editions. Attempts to solve the question of copyright, in fact, had been made officially since the Strasbourg convention of 1840 and left to the initiative of several continental publishers. The first use of the tag “edition authorized” that I was able to track in the archives of the Buchmesse in Leipzig dates back to the 1827 edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon by the publishers Treuttel and Würtz in Strasburg, who had previously published foreign language editions, such as Salvatore Rosa’s Satire. Brockhaus, too, repackaged an 1839 edition of Casimir Delavigne’s comedy La Popularité with a new cover-sheet that sought to legitimize it by specifying at the bottom of the title page “Edit. d’exp.” Brockahus may have thus inspired Tauchnitz to create his renowned series of “British and American Authors,” to be sold on the Continent and not reintroduced in England or the colonies. In marketing the titles belonging to Baudry’s “Collection of Ancient and Modern British Authors” since 1838, moreover, Brockhaus may have, in turn, further inspired Tauchnitz. Brockhaus’s organization of the output in easily identifiable series was by no means his own invention, but a strategy guiding the activities of several other publishers selling foreign-language titles through national literature series, such as, among the Leipzig-based publishers, Fleischer (English, Italian and Spanish series), Wunder, (“Library of the Newest English Novels, Tales and Poems”), Flügel, and Wiegand (English editions, limited to popular authors such as Scott and Bulwer-Lytton). As a condensed description of their series demonstrates, the variety of languages in which books were printed resists the binational model of transfer, which became dominant only after the first binational agreements on copyright. A bilingual focus ended up defining a specific form of language acquisition, as well as the curricular activities of language teaching and the layout of the teaching aides that enabled it. The discursive cluster associating a language with a national heritage to be defined by geographic extensions derives in part from the new phase of historical studies championed by the reemergence in Germany in the second half of the eighteenth century of the discipline of philology, and by the related debates on national culture by theorists such as Herder and Schlegel, who coined the word “historicism.”[12] The reality of the book market in the first half of the nineteenth century was, by contrast, to a large degree a free zone of cosmopolitan exchange, which often found ingenious means to circumvent the ideological restrictions imposed by state censorship in order to support, through the networks of international solidarity of the industry, the common goals of the liberal struggles that periodically enflamed Europe.

The claim that the continental trade posed a threat to national markets through pirated editions is often made basing one's assumption on a difficult assessment of the volume of this trade, particularly when based on the episodic accounts of travelers in foreign countries. Doing so produces an asymmetric understanding of the broader European cultural context and of the legitimacy ascribed to mediators of culture transfer. The Tauchnitz editions, therefore, became a profitable business that relied on the experience and know-how of the European industry as a whole, and on the centrality of the Leipzig context more specifically. These editions, which often were accompanied by prints that would accompany travelers to the much-revered monuments on the Grand Tour, are not the result of an individual forward-looking entrepreneur; they grow out of a richly articulated model of transnational production of the early nineteenth-century industry, which had a political dimension not easily circumscribed within an exclusive and aggressive form of nationalism. What many historical accounts of several national book industries call an “explosion,” to be ascribed to the the mid- to late nineteenth century period, must be historicized and read within the broader context and the more elusive history of agency in culture transfer. The importance of trade networks and their shared strategies of operation cannot be abstracted from the complex dynamics of multilingual exchanges, which is more widespread than in obvious areas such as the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires, or within states such as Prussia where several languages were spoken. Several continental countries such as Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern Europe, need to be accounted for. The much-maligned category of unauthorized “cheap editions,” which circulated widely among travelers in continental Europe, is even more significant in the history of the large national publishing empires who stigmatized these products, because these editions were often the backbone of the activities of many publishers who later became prominent, only to dismiss these activities in later accounts presented in the house histories. Overall, these print products do not justify the excessive rhetoric of the agitators for copyright legislation in England and France, especially because the practice of issuing cheap editions in foreign languages was widespread and predictably limited, due to the coexistence of several other parallel editions.[13] The list of publishers engaged in this trade also included firms based in the very same countries that were more vocal about the assumed loss to national cultures brought by the activities of foreign publishers. The numbers of these cheap editions, and the loss in profit that they implied, while still debated, has been assessed by nineteenth century economists affiliated with governmental agencies in ways that do not justify such a demonization of foreign editions. Théodore Fix in his book De la contrefaçon des livres français en Belgique (1836) demonstrates with the arguments of a political economist that the outrage of authors for the loss of profit through the reports they received from travelers in foreign countries was exaggerated: the costs most affecting the budget of French publishers were due to the editing work for corrections and the promotional costs, while the purchase of the manuscript may have been in some cases a minimal expense. Most authors, in fact, would not receive more than 1200 francs. A sale of one thousand copies of a French book sold at 7,50 francs would generate a profit from which the Belgian publisher of reprints would subtract, with the same number of copies sold at the reduced price of 1,50 francs, 1200 francs, i.e. the cost of 200 copies sold in France, or the price most manuscripts would be able to fetch. The list of publishers that can be associated to the charge of piracy is long, and goes beyond the usual references mentioned in earlier histories of the trade, i.e. Galignani, Baudry, Baillière and Bossange. In 1851, A. Hauman in his De la réimpression en Belgique (1851) offers a detailed overview of a market that had a complex structure with recognizable niches that each publisher created for his business, which overlapped with few other competitors only. Baudry was known for his reprints of English, Italian and German books, Galignani and Truchy only for English ones. Tetot specialised in German titles, Aillaud in Portuguese ones, Rosa in Spanish, Cormon et Blanc in Italian. Hauman adds to the list of British publishers issuing American reprints, besides Bohn and Routledge mentioned by Simon Nowell-Smith, Bogue, Chapman, Bentley, Clarke and Daly in London only.[14] The practice of reprints was widespread over the whole European continent: in Germany, Schlessinger, based in Berlin, and Jugel in Frankfurt reproduced British books; in Hungary Wigand disseminated his wares from Pesth. Other reprints of French works appeared outside of Belgium and were never mentioned in the controversy, such as the ones appearing in Berlin issued by Behr, in Milan by Turati, in Amsterdam by Dietrich Caurelsen & Co., in Geneve by Chateu-Vieux, in London by Dulau & Co, in St. Petersburg by Belizard & Co., in Florence by Ricordi and Jouhaud.[15] In London, moreover, Italian reprints were manufactured by Rolandi.[16] The battle for copyright, in other words, was not fought in the name of the authors, as Fix himself was able to recognize, since the typical sum that most would fetch for their manuscript did not change.[17] A more insidious discursive force co-opted the print industry, at a specific time in nineteenth century history when the number of travelers on the Grand Tour increased, and made the industry a natural ally in cementing the ideological reach of nationalism and economic protectionism.

As the examples of foreign-language editions and the debated question of copyright can attest, only a study of the nineteenth-century book industry through a synchronic attention to several interconnected practices and national markets can help outline an earlier, transnational phase, a veritable international Grand Tour of the book trade, which enabled the publication and circulation of editions in several foreign languages from any point in the map of the continental trade, and terminated with the later restructuring of the trade along national lines, as the examples of the three publishers discussed later will attest. These transformations deeply affected the open horizons of the trade at a specific time in which the Grand Tour, by contrast, became a more common experience for increasingly larger sections of the population. Positing an unproblematic continuity for the category of leisure travel represented by the Grand Tour runs the risk of missing a more material history of who and what was allowed to move more or less freely as a result of specific transformations. A study of the explorations of the celebrated sites of past civilizations needs to be “croisé” with the ambivalent relation that the category of the “foreign” entailed, not only among travelers who modulated in various ways their national allegiance while traveling, but in relation to the commercial interests of the nation.

The “tensions of the transnational” would be missed, without considering that the cultural fascination with antiquity was coterminous with a more pressing investment in the plight of the national economy. This is paradoxical when considering that some of these editions that moved between nations were clearly not pirated but were simply translations published in a language other than the dominant one, thus incurring in the doubts of customs officials inspecting works in transit. The practice of translation, therefore, was deeply affected by the same restructuring of the industry along national lines, which limited the horizons of the book trade. The practice of translation, far from being an unregulated activity presumably depriving national publishers and authors of their revenues, or an example of cultural mediation guided by the repeated and enlightened “discoveries” of foreign authors to be translated, was often the active means of disseminating knowledge about a national author, scientist, or of a specific geographic area in foreign languages through editions printed in the same territory. These cross-national translations, in the period before copyright legislation, coexisted in the European book market with those of the national publishers from neighboring countries, who were also promoting translations and similar works in the same languages foreign publishers would use to market translations of their own national authors. The transformations of the trade were later to impose a protectionist model of production that redefined the role of translators themselves, now co-opted into a national production model in which their activities benefited only the publishers in their own nations. These editions, which may have predictably been perceived as pirated, were a product of the pan-European innovative practices of the nineteenth-century book dealers without borders, which gathered at important trade centers such as the Leipzig book fairs to conduct business. The Leipzig industry, in its multifarious developments, was also crucial in creating new markets to disseminate these editions, along lesser studied trade routes than the East- or West-bound trajectories uniting main national capitals.

The North-South Trade Routes: The Leipzig Book Industry and the Incorporation of Satellite Markets along the Mediterranean

The location of a city such as Leipzig, conveniently placed at the crossroads of several trade routes linking neighboring powers, was the site in 1813 of the final and decisive battle in the campaign against Napoleon, after his defeat in Russia. The Leipzig book industry was able to recover from the devastating war by converting the clash of civilizations it witnessed in the Battle of Leipzig (with the city itself under siege) into an extremely profitable peace economy where culture and trade mediated contacts and exchanges between formerly enemy nations. The Leipzig publishers, as well as the other German book dealers from cities in a not-yet-unified Germany, benefited from several crucial factors that supported its continued expansion. One was the Zollverein, the system of economic free trade that made since 1833 most German-speaking territories a toll-free market that enabled trade without hampering it with costly restrictions and bureaucratic procedures. The centrality of the Leipzig book trade was also supported by its renowned fairs, the Easter and the Michaelmas, which took place, respectively, in spring and in autumn, and involved a very large number of European publishers. The fairs allowed booksellers from several countries and other parts of Germany to promote their books either in person or through an agreement with other local publishers acting as agents. Given the transnational context of the nineteenth-century book trade before copyright agreements, focusing only on the dissemination of German and French titles from locations such as Paris, London and Strasbourg appears to be reductive. The Leipzig fairs mediated the circulations of works in other languages, which are not the “classical” ones, but Polish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Romanian, Russian, Danish, Swedish and modern Greek[18] Among the strategies of the publishers gravitating around the Leipzig book industry was the production, by publishers in several nations in Central Europe (not only in the German territories), of books on local culture and history in foreign languages, as mentioned above, to be exported across the border. Some were translations in several languages (most notably French and English but also Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech) of the more prominent works of fiction and non-fiction emerging in their respective territories. The multilingual scope of the pan-European trade was also reflected by the production of conversation aides for travelers in tabular format, which printed side by side expressions in three or four languages (and not in two, as it became customary after the first bi-national agreements on copyright). This practice ended after the first bi-national agreements on copyright, when the catalogues of the Buchmesse arranged titles along national languages for the first time. In the 1850s, moreover, the subtitle of the catalogue referred to the German publishers it represented, whereas previously titles were arranged in alphabetical order irrespective of the nationality of the publishers that promoted them at the fair.

While the pan-European trade of the early part of the nineteenth century cannot be easily charted along simple trajectories uniting main cultural centers, in the second half of the nineteenth century the production and distribution of books became increasingly incorporated into a national production and distribution chain that targeted markets such as the one made of a shifting presence of foreign travelers temporarily there or transiting through. The North-South routes of the book trade cannot be read through a bi-national focus typical of transfer studies, since the very notion of a “national” language of operation is problematic. Most book industries were multilingual at the time, to the point of making it difficult to imagine a dominant common language of cultural influence. The migration of printed matter from one country to other ones cannot be read univocally through a diffusive model of any one dominant national culture, since the trade in the opposite direction was oftentimes just as consistent and significant. The number of Italian-language editions at the Leipzig fairs, for instance, questions the assumed dominance of any language in the trade of foreign-language editions, but, most importantly, undermines a one-way model of dissemination from Northern to Southern markets. At some of the Leipzig book fairs, advertised Italian publications were second only to the French ones, and included medicine and other scientific books originally printed in several cities of a not-yet unified Italy, while English editions were reduced to a dozen and were not as dominant as existing accounts of the French market in its relation to England would make them to be. The circulation of literary texts in Italian included a very extensive coverage of the new literary genre of the historical novel, well beyond a possible dominance in the market of the canonical work of Alessandro Manzoni I Promessi Sposi. Publishers in Prague, Utrecht, Groeningen and Dresden issued Italian-language editions of immediate use, such as commercial manuals and newspapers with the latest news in several fields (art, literature, festivals, antiquities, and music), which prepared cultivated readers for travel and, most importantly, for polite conversations, but also issued poetry collections. Their activities complicate a linear trajectory of culture transfer between two nations, or a model of transfer irradiating from the cultural capitals of any nation to the rest of Europe. Italian translations of French works were also issued in Germany, for instance in Dresden and in Prague by the publisher Calve. A considerable amount of Italian scientific and literary works originally published in the established university towns of Pavia, Padua, Venezia, but also in Udine, Milano, and Triest, were marketed through Austrian intermediaries first and, later in the century, through Leipzig, but also, outside of the Hapsburg Empire, through Bavarian publishers acting as either agents, co-publishers or independent producers of editions in Italian. The transnational dissemination of scholarly editions on Mediterranean antiquities of interest to travelers on the Grand Tour followed the same model in providing multilingual opportunities for learning: an 1826 Venetian edition of Fatti principali della storia greca antica rappresentati con tavole in rame incise [Main Events in ancient Greek history, represented in copper plates] included extensive commentaries in three languages: Italian, Greek and French, and was sold by the Leipzig agent Weigel. While editions of textbooks, journals and other works in two or more languages are a constant feature of the industry throughout the earlier part of the nineteenth century, these editions in multiple languages became increasingly rare with the first bi-national agreements on copyright, which also regulated translations.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Mediterranean centers in Italy, Greece and in the international capital of the Ottoman empire, Istanbul, became an area of expansion for book traders on the move. This region became increasingly incorporated in the production model of industries such as the Leipzig one. The training in place of the new generations of professionals led to a dissemination of its know-how though migrant publishers, who often collaborated with their colleagues in national centers of culture. The firms slowly developing into editorial empires did so thanks to the effect of copyright law that reduced, to their advantage, the competition within the pan-European market of the earlier part of the nineteenth century. The Leipzig industry is an example in point, as its know-how irradiated in several directions through the movement of its book-dealers and publishers towards centers that were destinations or stops in the journey toward more celebrated sites of the Grand Tour: as a result of this incorporation, however, the roles of publisher and book dealer, which were for a large part of the nineteenth century interchangeable, became increasingly more distinct. I shall focus here on three case studies that help exemplify this transition: Loescher in Turin, Florence and Rome; Wilberg in Athens; and Weiss in Istanbul. These firms exemplify a distinctive phase in the history of the nineteenth-century book industry that has so far been seen only through the lens of national histories, if at all, and through the model of book history focusing on the “rise” of the individual entrepreneur independent of the transnational culture that enabled his development along an axis of incorporation of semi-peripheral and peripheral areas into core areas of production. Their activities were connected to several established publishers in Leipzig with a large network of agents and distributors: Breitkopft and Haertel, Fleischer, Koehler and Brockhaus.[19]

The Lindenau-(Leipzig)-born publisher Hermann Loesher, in setting his business in Turin a few years before the unification of the kingdom of Italy, and soon after in Florence and Rome, as the two cities became capitals of the new kingdom, contributed to the cultural program of the newly-unified kingdom by creating, with the italicized name of Ermanno, the structures of the Italian book market after 1861 and by investing in the dissemination of scholarly editions and studies, often on Mediterranean antiquities, relying on his own experience accumulated during the years of his training in Leipzig. In Turin as of 1857, Loescher first worked in the bookstore opened near the city university by the German bookseller Hahmann, who operated his “German and English Library” in via Carlo Alberto as an agent for Gerald Fleischer. Hahmann’s activity developed within the wide network of commission agents set in place by the Leipzig publishers, which had developed global ties since the late 1850s in Northern, Central and Southern Europe, as well as in the United States and Australia. Fleischer, like Brockhaus, established his activity in the earlier part of the nineteenth century by issuing cheap reprints, for instance the complete works of de Florian, and an 1800 French translation of Don Quixote, which was not pirated but competed with the translations issued by national publishers in French. Milton, Ossian (in an edition printed by Brockhaus’ establishment), the Voyages of Captain Cook and the complete works of Bulwer-Lytton were all published in the 1830s before Tauchnitz’s copyright editions of British Classics. Brockhaus’s printing establishment was instrumental in Fleischer’s developing business, but collaborations extended to other national publishers, for instance for the edition of the English translation of The Arabian Night, which was printed in London in 1827 by Limbird expressly for Fleischer. These foreign-language editions belong to the transnational culture of cheap reprints before the passage of the first bi-national agreements on copyright, and confirm the transnational production model that was in place in the first part of the nineteenth century. Whereas Brockhaus represents the case of a publisher transitioning from the earlier phases of transnational and cheap pirated editions to become a national publishing empire at the turn of the century, Loescher exemplifies the case of a Leipzig publisher on the move, who was initially exposed to the culture of cheap reprints while working with Hahmann, but who developed his activity in the period immediately after the passage of the first copyright agreements, when some aspects of the transnational production and distribution model were kept in place. Loescher inaugurated his own activity as publisher, and not only a bookseller, in 1857 when he issued a topical title, a transcript of a university lecture delivered at the opening of the academic year in Torino. Loescher issued in 1862 a retrospective view on the recent episodes of the Italian war of independence, La campagne d’Italie en 1859, detailing the Prussian presence in the war, still in collaboration with the publishers E.S. Mittler in Berlin and J. Dumaine in Paris. His early titles expanded the series of scientific publications, which would become his niche market; these editions, too, were in collaboration with other publishers, for instance the Berlin-based Hirschwald and the global publisher Baillere, active in Paris, London, Madrid and Melbourne. Loescher soon established contacts with the scholarly Italian community, publishing editions on comparative philology, comparative religion, and archeology, but also started important academic journals, a national bibliography and the more lucrative line of business of language and school books sold in his three establishments scattered over the Italian peninsula, which were to keep his business, despite the damages to his establishment in Turin caused by the air raids during World War II.

Carl Wilberg opened his bookstore in Athens at 222 Odos Hermou the same year that Loescher took over the activity of Hahmann in Turin. At the time, the Greek capital was benefitting from a new political regime that loosened censorship on printed matter after the king Otto left and George I was enthroned. In 1860, twenty-one printing shops existed, and the number rose to 80 in 1876 according to the data provided by Pavlos Lampros.[20] Transnationalism in the case of Greek publishers was mediated by the international cultural ties of the Greek diaspora all over the European continent: most publications in the Greek language had originated at the beginning of the nineteenth century outside of the Ottoman Empire: in Venice, Vienna, Istanbul and Paris, but also Leipzig.[21] Wilberg’s first editions envisioned a broader audience than the one constituted by the Greek diaspora and the scholarly community, as he also targeted potential and actual travelers. These editions were multilingual, as that was a common practice, as mentioned above, before a form of linguistic nationalism restructured the trade following copyright agreements: Wilberg’s 1858 “DIALOGUES USUELS ET FAMILIERS/ ΝΕΟΣ ΟΔΗΓΟΣ/ ΝΕΩΤΕΡΩΝ ΠΟΙΚΙΛΩΝ ΔΙΑΛΟΓΩΝ” was an edition in 4 languages: Greek, French, English and Italian. It built on the practices of the Leipzig book industry of organizing the layout of books of language instruction not as a typographic tabular comparison between two languages, as is the case with our contemporary language acquisition tools and university curricula. The trilingual edition of “ΤΑ ΜΟΥΣΕΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΑΘΗΝΩΝ/ DIE MUSEEN ATHENS, THE MUSEUMS OF ATHENS/ LES MUSÉES D’ATHÈNES,” targeting the public of travelers interested in Greek antiquities, was published in 1886 in collaboration with C. Reinwald in Paris, H. Gravel in London, F.W. Christern in New York, and Brockhaus in Leipzig. Beside the multilingual editions and a few more topical publications centering on contemporary history, Wilberg had in common with Loesher his strategy of branching out in the field of scholarly publications in collaboration with the local scientific community, supported by the established firms of the Leipzig industry. Wilberg became the publisher of the Athens Observatory from the early 1860s, but the illustrated annual officially issued by the same institution was printed by the Brockhaus establishment. Wilberg also contributed to the history of book-publishing in Greece by establishing collaborations with other Greek bookseller-publishers such as Nikolaos Nakis, son of Vasilios Nakis, active since the mid-nineteenth century from his store located at 108 Aiolou near Monastiraki.[22] These activities, still typical of the immediate aftermath of the first copyright agreements, decreased in the latter part of the nineteenth century. This is how Wilberg ended up issuing mostly the catalogues of his book-selling activities, which were printed in Paris by the Perris brothers: these catalogues detailed the titles available in his shop in several fields of scientific research, among them Greek and Latin antiquities. Many of the editions advertised were also disseminated through his lending library. Developing more than his own catalogue of original works, he became, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, retail seller of editions of other European publishers, for instance Hachette and Teubner. His activity developed into the role that the incorporation of peripheral areas into the system of productions of core areas such as Paris and Leipzig demanded of him. It is as a result of the restructuring of the trade at this time, that the figure of the “libraire-éditeur” gradually morphed into two distinct roles, both defined by a more limited range of activities. In 1900, Wilberg’s bookstore was the local branch of the Parisian Librairie Nilsson. For his own imprint, he reverted to issuing works of local interest with a global appeal, like the guide book “COLLECTION/ DE/ MONUMENTS Pour servir à l’étude/ de la langue néo-hellénique in 1875” or the series “Bibliotheca Philologica,” made of Greek classics. He also issued a fourth edition of Baedeker’s “ATHÈNES/ ET SES ENVIRONS/ EXTRAIT DU MANUEL DU VOYAGEUR,” printed in Leipzig by Breitkopf und Haertel. The firm Baedeker, known for its travel guides later in the century, started its activity with the publication of foreign-language editions, such as Cervantes and Guizot, while also serving as agent for Rotterdam publishers issuing works in French.

The history of Greek publications, as mentioned above, reflected a readership that was spread out in several European centers from where subscription orders were sent: these communities were based most notably in Basarabia, but also in Vienna, Triest, Venice and Istanbul. The capital of the Ottoman empire in the second half of the nineteenth century was an example of a more complex landscape of intercultural exchange, facilitated by several factors: the diversity of the population residing in, or doing trade with the empire made possible the publications of L’Indicateur Constantinopolitain, in the Greek, Italian, Turkish (in Greek characters), Arabic, Ladino, Armenian and Bulgarian languages.

Figure 1

L’Indicateur Constantinopolitain, published by R. Cervati et N. C. Sargologo, Imprimerie G. B. Pagano, 1868.

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The same periodical lists the addresses of 21 newspapers’ offices in 1868. The opening of the vast markets of the empire to European traders since the 1830s agreements with Great Britain contributed to enhancing the exchanges with European capitals and the activities of printers and publishers: in 1868, seven printing presses are listed (although the number is not complete), and 11 bookstores, mostly concentrated in the Pera neighborhood around the Grand Rue. S.H. Weiss had a shop at number 477 of the Grande Rue, across from the Russian embassy.

Figure 2

Advertisement for S. H. Weiss’s Bookshop, The Levant Herald, January 4 1877.

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He was connected to the Leipzig book industry as the official commission-agent of the Koehler Brothers in Istanbul. The Koehler firm is known in Schmidt’s History of German Book Publishers for representing other publishers at the Leipzig fair, but it in fact operated in Istanbul as well, at number 5, Passage Oriental where the firm took subscriptions in 1862 for the periodical Le Levant printed in Brussels. The firm later shared a space with Weiss at number 323 on the Grande Rue. The period of the short-lived activity of the Weiss bookshop in Istanbul was limited to the 1860s and 70s, when he represented Koehler, selling Koeler’s staples, maps, as well as a large selection of foreign-language editions, which were by that time advertised through the trademark of the Tauchnitz and Asher collections issued in Leipzig and Berlin. Weiss continued the activity of Koehler as collector of subscriptions for foreign papers, and as distributor of several periodical titles, such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s monthly Belgravia, the magazine edited by the popular author of popular fiction and distributed globally by her husband Maxwell since the late 60s, imitating in this the structures of operation of the Leipzig industry. Weiss’s activity highlights another important component of the Leipzig book industry, the renowned skills of the art departments working for the publishing industry. From the very early history of the nineteenth century book industry, in fact, Leipzig offered appealing print products, like the illustrated poems by Schiller or Tasso in the periodical Minerva published by Fleischer in the 1830s, or the Galerie zu Shakespeare’s Dramatischen Werken of 1828, which included the text in four languages accompanied by a large-scale print depicting salient episodes from the plays. Brockhaus’s establishment is also significant in this history as it had printed the first editions of the Illustrierte Zeitung issued by J.J. Weber, the publisher of the whole series of Dickens novels in German since 1837.

Figure 3

Galerie zu Shakespeare’s Dramatischen Werken, Leipzig, Fleischer, 1828.

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Weiss’s activity in Istanbul represents another transformation of the trade, particularly in the colonial context: the space of the book shop had many purposes, being a place to buy literary artifacts together with other commodities of the most disparate kind, among them art works, sewing machines and bicycles, as Walch did in Hobart, Tasmania, or croquet sets as Thacker and Spink did in Kolkata.

Figure 4

Walch’s Literary Intelligencer, 1861. Advertisement for Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machines. J. Walch & Sons sole agents.

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The bookstore was being transformed into a specific location in the urban landscape associated at the same time with commercial and cultural value. The exhibitions organized in some of the bookstores, as well as the etchings that were sold there, facilitated the circulation of aesthetic conventions from Europe, while building networks with local artists that were being championed. The symbolic capital of artworks sold next to new technological innovations, however, did not exist in a secluded sphere of autonomy but was leveled out in the exchange logic of the colonial trade. Weiss and Koehler represent an updated form of the entrepreneurial inventiveness of the industry in its capacity to adapt to different markets and to quickly embrace new media, for instance photography. The albums containing views of Istanbul and the Middle East by James Robertson and Beato were printed by Koehler and sold at the Weiss shop in collaboration with Truebner in London and with Schulz and Thuillé in Paris. Weiss’s presence did not continue past the 1870s, as he did not survive the global depression which, according to the study of Reşat Kasaba and Şevket Pamuk, hit the Ottoman economy in the period between 1873 and 1896.

Recent scholarship elaborating on the ‟spatial turn” in the history of European nationalism and of its colonial ambitions vis a vis the Mediterranean basin and the Ottoman Empire has tracked the movement of ideas (Isabella and Zanou) and of intellectuals and activists (Isabella Coller), in an attempt to reconstruct the diasporic communities of liberals and promoters of reforms who were, in the course of the nineteenth century, transnational agents of change on the move. I want to add to this group the category of booksellers and publishers. They often engaged in the European liberal struggles of the early part of the nineteenth century, either by publishing newspapers, as Brockhaus did, which kept readers informed on the evolution of the struggles in several locations, or, in a more engaged and topical manner, by circulating locally at a cost of a few cents the constitutions that were being proclaimed during the upheavals in several European nations. Assuming that the wide variety of products they offered was only motivated by a commercial gain guided by a capitalist expansion is misleading, as is the implied attempt to depoliticize commercial history to insist only on profit as a guiding force. The increased infrastructure of travel naturally facilitated an accelerated movement among several locations in Europe, the Mediterranean basin and beyond, which enabled the movement of people, books and other commodities, and made transnationalism not only a matter of cosmopolitan aspirations for a community of engaged reformers but a contingency dictated by the new lived experience of global travel that united these centers of dissemination.

Was this type of cosmopolitanism serving commercial and territorial colonial interests? Brockhaus, one of the large publishing empires to emerge in the post-copyright phase of the industry, actively supported the independence struggles in the rest of Europe, for instance by publishing, in the series of Polish national literature mentioned above, a work such as C.B. Stolzman’s Partyzantka czyli wojna dal ludów powstających najwłaściwzsa [La guerre de partisans, ou la guerre qui convient le mieux aux insurgés]. His activity can, therefore, be included in the diasporic and entangled history of European liberalism that has so far focused only on expatriates and activists. Loescher, a German national, settled and became an important animator of the early Italian book industry, publishing a national bibliography along the model of Brockhaus’s Allgemeine Bibliographie and his earlier, more episodic trade journal Literarischer Anzeiger (also appearing as Central-Anzeiger). If colonialism in its fully structured articulation meant the exclusion of other competitors from a share in a market belonging only to one nation, it is after the passage of international copyright law (as opposed to bi-national agreements) that we can find a convergence of the practices of the national modern publishing empires and a more parochial program of nation building, which impacted the book industry by concentrating every step in the production process, at the expense of the previous transnational collaborative model. The book industry after copyright law, therefore, in favoring the consolidation of some forms, diminished the scope of activity of the former mediators of culture transfer which are now forgotten, like the ones I discussed here. Their entangled activities do not fit the model of book historiography of the “rise and fall” of prominent individual entrepreneurs, when they lasted into the twentieth century and left considerable archival material providing them with historical visibility. These mediators in culture transfer lost agency and simply became cogs in an increasingly monopolistic production process that coincided with the closing of the cosmopolitan horizons of the earlier businesses model, as well as with the phase of aggressive nationalism that left foreign competitors out of the picture. While the movement of the affluent classes continued and visitors to continental destinations increased, as new classes were able to partake in the evolving structures of an emerging tourist industry, the tensions of the transnational affecting print culture presents a paradox: the publishing industry was eager to feature international culture among its offerings, as a sign of its “open” horizons, but did so within a restructured system of operation motivated by strong nationalist forces. The trade in foreign language editions and in books on Mediterranean antiquities thus evolved from a more flexible set of activities scattered all over the map of continental Europe crossed by the Grand Tour to more specialized ones, only inasmuch as these agents of cultural transfer joined the “interstate system of the capitalist world economy” that controlled the process of incorporation and peripheralization of its branches of operation.[23]