Rabelais remains the Renaissance poet of the belly. Pregnancies and births, urination and excretion punctuate the adventures of his giants Gargantua and Pantagruel. His style fits those themes. According to settled views among critics, the Rabelaisian belly and its related style signal either the comic crowning of our lower regions in the upside-down world of carnivalesque fiction, or humanist satire wielded against diseased body-politics: old universities, the Church.
A period of leave spent as Visiting Fellow at the Fondazione Cini (Venice) in 2013 suggested to me that there was an excellent opportunity for Oxford Humanities to collaborate with the Cini.
This project proposes for the first time to use the traded objects themselves, 15th-century books which still survive in their thousands, as essential and unquestionable evidence of the booktrade, to substantially complement current research on the booktr