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Abstract

This dissertation examines, from both a chronological and a thematic perspective, the editorial policies of Guillaume Roville and Benoît Rigaud, two highly prolific publishers based in Lyon whose activities started in the 1540s and 1550s and spanned almost the entire second half of the 16th century. Lyon was then an important printing and publishing center situated at the crossroads of Europe, one that enjoyed much commercial and cultural prosperity before being affected by the Wars of Religion. Its printing and publishing industry provides a unique angle from which to measure the shifts in the cultural landscape during that time. The comparable yet highly distinctive features of the careers of Roville and Rigaud allow them to effectively represent Lyonnese publishers and the publishing industry during this period. I focus on the period 1545-1597, which covers both Roville and Rigaud’s careers and saw both the height of Lyon’s golden age and, following the outbreak of the Wars of Religion in 1562, the polarized atmosphere and the economic decline. Through a case study of these exemplary figures, I show how publishers in Lyon adapted their editorial policies over several decades to suit the demands of their readership in an evolving context. In my first chapter, I offer a chronological description of their catalogues. The three subsequent chapters – on religious texts, literary publications, and illustrated books, respectively – constitute three distinct and important angles from which to examine their editorial policies. From a large number of sources including catalogues, original editions and archives and by taking a longue durée approach, I aim to construct a cultural history of the Lyonnese printing and publishing industry at the time of the Wars of Religion and also to provide new perspectives on the history of the book and on our understanding of printing and publication during this dynamic and unsettled period.

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