Rutgers Seminar in the History of the Book series, March 30, 2005.
Marija Dalbello: Images of Modernity, Baroque Fantasies, and the Waning Glory of the Habsburg Empire (1898-1918): A Study of Print Culture in the Borderlands.
The presentation explores print culture defined by the borderlands. The borderlands concept is present in the geographical location of the book trade of a multi-cultural and multilingual Habsburg Empire at the turn of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, in the materiality of production and circulation of printed artefacts, and in the contradictions of modernity mirrored in the texts themselves. The firm J. Steinbrener provides an insight into the model of publishing adapted to the context of the Habsburg Empire. Flourishing from mid-nineteenth century until the end of WWI and operating under royal privilege, the firm specialized in popular illustrated print (text-books, prayer-books, almanacs) for a multilingual market in the Habsburg realm, and around the world through an elaborate distribution network ranging from Dublin to New York, from the Dutch colonies to Marian shrines in Mexico. Publishing in twenty-one languages, the J. Steinbrener firm employed systematic translation and formula publishing; it exemplified advanced technology in photo-reproduction of images. The encyclopedic world of J. Steinbrener almanacs (focusing on a select sample of Croatian almanacs from 1898-1918) is analyzed in light of the borderlands situated in the worldview of a waning Baroque empire.