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Abstract

During the 20th century, book historians, bibliographers, librarians, and archivists laid down the theoretical and empirical framework to understand the printed book as a commodity--a product of a specific market. In the 21st, the predominance of digital technologies and the cyberspace has made more evident than ever that print technologies created a specific market space for cultural exchange: the printspace. We propose authorship as a textual commodity, a cultural object that is shaped by the legal, commercial, and material limitations of the printing press as a platform of media communication. ,Under this framework I present four study cases, analyzing different authorships associated with a specific print product, all in the context of the Spanish Golden Age. In the first case, I posit that the material characteristics of the pliego suelto produce a very specific kind of authorship that differs greatly from the authorship for books. Here, the works of Benito Carrasco and Cristóbal Bravo serve as an example and a probe for the market of pliegos. In the second case I contrast Mateo Alemán’s authorial project with how the readers consumed his authorial persona. This juxtaposition shows how an authorship is not the sole creation of the author, but the product of the mechanisms of production, distribution, and consumption of printed text. The third case investigates the interaction between the market of comedias and the market of printed books. The play El Burlador de Sevilla serves to illustrate how this transfer created persistent authorial problems. I demonstrate how the printspace, as a theoretical framework, can provide critical solutions to these authorial problems. The last chapter studies the authorships of Lope de Vega and Juan Pérez de Montalbán as part of the editorial enterprise of the book merchant Alonso Pérez. This case exhibits the marketing strategies used in the construction of both authorships, and showcase the importance of the nascent figure of the editor in the market of books.

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