Tracing the transnational crossroads of books in Early Modern Norway

The first Norwegian book was printed in Paris in 1519, in Latin. Today, most ‘Norwegian’ books are printed in the Baltics, and the holdings of the National Library are digitized and made publicly accessible from around the world. The intermediate 500 years of Norwegian book history display similar transnational and trans-medial characteristics. How did the book change society? In what way did it influence ideas on children, gender or nationality? Or simply how we consume entertainment? Why has it remained such a powerful and influential medium through the shifting media revolutions?

LitCit covers the book medium’s evolvement in Norway from its religious beginnings in 1519 to the emergence of the modern public sphere in the mid-1800s. Books in Scandinavia were on the one hand steeped in a pan European market and tradition, and on the other, they constitute an important and different case of regional and local adaptation, marked by what has been termed ‘Northern Enlightenment’ and later the phenomenon of Scandinavian world literature (Ibsen and Strindberg). Subprojects include studies of books for children, popular literature and translations, literary periodicals and political pamphlets, bibliography and works of History from the hand press period. The project is organized in four work packages (WP): 1) Education, religion and literature, 2) Popular books and new readerships, 3) Moving books: trade and media transformations and 4) The politics of books: Negotiating identity, print and the public sphere.

The year 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the printed book in Norway. Popular and scholarly results include exhibitions at The National Library on the history of books and the development of the public sphere and a bibliography of Norwegian books 1519-1850.

LitCit brings together an interdisciplinary and international team of media and book historians. Partner institutions are The National Library and the National Archives of Norway, The Universities of Oslo and Tromsø, The University College of Southeast Norway, The Society for Danish Language and Literature, and Cambridge Project for the Book Trust. The project is lead by Aina Nøding, Research Librarian at The National Library

LitCit is financed by The Research Council of Norway. It runs from 2016 to 2020.

Work package 1: Education, religion and literacy
Work package 2: Popular books and new readerships
Work package 3: Moving books: trade and media transformations
Work package 4 : The politics of books: Negotiating identity, print and the public sphere