A false imprint: the strange case of Ecclesiasticae disciplinae

by bibliodeviant

University of Glasgow Library

An imprint – usually found at the bottom of a book’s titlepage (from the 16th century onwards at least!) – is a statement to the reader and to the authorities, on behalf of the publisher and printer, claiming responsibility for the work. Given this fact, the existence of false or misleading imprints is hardly surprising in a trade where, for centuries, opportunistic printers pirated copyrighted works and protesting voices used the printing press to attack powerful individuals and established ideas and practices. Let’s be honest, if you were ‘up to no good’ in the eyes of law enforcement, effectively taking out an advert implicating yourself in the treason, piracy, heresy or other illegal act wouldn’t have been a sensible plan! Therefore some publishers chose to omit the imprint entirely, while others (as I’ve written about in a previous blog) chose to create a false imprint to throw the…

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