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Text Dive Global



The period between 1545 and 1661 is the core century of crisis and change for Europe in the larger, global revolution between 1450 and 1750.

Alongside the new kinds of cultural identity and the new forms of intra-Christian confessional diversity and mobility brought about by the Reformation, the experiences of cultural diversity in encounters between Europeans and other global peoples were intensifying, and a communications revolution was multiplying the forms and numbers of texts and images in circulation across regions within, and connected to, Europe.

Europe, and its global colonies and outposts, was more connected and heterogeneous in its textual and visual communications than ever before. At the same time, it was more divided religiously and culturally, and more fixed on its differences from the rest of the world.

TextDiveGlobal asks:

  • How did textual and sociocultural diversity and mobility inform one another in different contexts and regions of Europe and its global connections from 1545 to 1661?
  • How did actors of the time – by means of the production and circulation of texts and the regulation thereof – narrativise, conceptualise and react to both kinds of diversity and the ways they inform each other?


TextDiveGlobal uses analytical and linguistic-geographical criteria to select a wide and multilingual range of textual objects and forms both made and encountered by Europeans, in relation to spaces from Mexico to China, and events from the Church Council of Trent (1545) to the beginning of the personal rule of Louis XIV (1661). The methodology is a global-historical anthropology of texts grouped into corpora assembled on four interrelated principles: works, forms, spaces, events.


A corpus that reveals the making, meaning, distribution in space and time of one work or oeuvre, including, for example, a work which shapes and/or is shaped by a spatially, socially or linguistically diverse environment. The selection of corpora aims to balance canonical works – secular and religious/theological – of wide reach and dissemination with works informed by identities, spaces or languages considered marginal or peripheral in traditional literary history.


A corpus of multiple textual objects that share variations of a form or illustrate a related set of forms (a genre, a literacy, an area of knowledge) and that show the transformations and continuities of forms across different spaces and milieux. The choice of corpora aims to juxtapose spatial variations in key forms between regions within peninsular Europe, and between Europe and the world. Attention is paid to hybrid or translated forms resulting from the encounter between European letters and textual and cultural forms of the peoples in regions of the Americas, Africa, and Asia.


A corpus of multiple textual objects that diversely or similarly fashion – or are fashioned by – a space of human knowledge or society on any scale (local, regional, national, meso- or macro-regional, transregional) or by an itinerary or network connecting different spaces. The selection seeks to combine spaces of transmission of particular kinds of knowledge through texts with civic spaces in the environment that host or inform texts, and key cultural spaces such as courts, libraries, archives, academies, theatres, colleges.


A corpus of multiple textual objects that share a relationship to an event or set of events, a history (ancient, contemporary) that may be 'true', biblical, legendary, fictional (or a combination of these), and that transmit that event or history in both diverse and similar ways. The selection seeks to combine studies of the transmission of ancient, medieval and contemporary histories and news with the study of particular events and their textual ramifications.

Image of fighting lions from early modern map

We approach textuality in socio-anthropological terms as:

  • the social production, meanings, and circulation/use of texts, considered as objects with recognisable boundaries and form; and
  • the available repertoire of forms, languages and materials that go into the making and remaking of those objects in particular communities and spaces, by particular agents, at particular junctures.

The meaning of 'object' here is broad and is not confined to the everyday sense of a physical artefact. A textual object in TextDiveGlobal can be a nested object such as a paratext, a fragmentary object such as an extracted passage or a saying, an oral or performance object that is scripted or attested in text, a handwritten or printed object in one or other material format or state (a separate, a book, an annotated book, a sheet, and so on) accompanied or not by illustrations, an inscribed item of material culture, any visual or material object that recalls, gives rise to or depicts a text or texts.

Each year-long phase of the project proceeds simultaneously on four connected levels of analysis:

  1. the analysis of individual textual objects or examples from particular places and moments across the interconnected regions of Europe and the globe between 1545 and 1661;
  2. the investigation of a very diverse set of textual corpora from which the individual textual objects are taken;
  3. the analysis of groups of the corpora according to one of the project’s four organising principles:
    • Works (Phase 1, 2022)
    • Forms (Phase 2, 2023)
    • Spaces (Phase 3, 2024)
    • Events (Phase 4, 2025)
  4. the analysis of forms of relationship between textual and sociocultural diversity across the four organising principles, as they vary in time and space between Trent, 1545 and Paris, 1661.


Research priorities

The main output of TextDiveGlobal (Europe in the World: A Literary History, 1545-1661) welcomes contributions from scholars of all backgrounds, areas of expertise, career stages, institutional locations. It particularly welcomes contributions from scholars of colour and of near Eastern and Asian backgrounds. It is open to and supportive of early career scholars, who (if accepted as chapter contributors) can apply for TextDiveGlobal research funding. If you are interested please join the project network by filling out the webform here.

EWALH 1545-1661 is seeking to commission further chapters on topics compatible with the volumes’ themes that address texts in the following priority areas:

  • bibles, devotional and liturgical texts, psalms, sermons
  • womens’ writing and female participation in textual culture
  • scientific writing and textual culture
  • non-elite, indigenous and popular forms of text and textual participation
  • reception/ rewriting of classical, medieval, pre-1545 texts

Work with transregional dimensions on genres including drama, biography/ life-writing, picaresque/ satire, emblems, dialogues, epics (e.g. Ariosto, Tasso), lyric poetry, letters would also be welcome, along with investigations of topics related to libraries and archives, and literary-educational spaces of various kinds.

In terms of chronology, the priority is texts relating to events and trends of the later, seventeenth-century portion of the period (the ‘general crisis’ from the 1630s to the 1660s), including French literary classicism in its European and global contexts c.1661.

In terms of languages, regions ,and minority/ diasporic communities, the following are currently priorities:

  • texts by major authors in the French, Dutch-Flemish, German, Portuguese, Scandinavian vernacular languages and in the medieval Latin and neo-Latin traditions
  • texts in east and west Slavic languages, Hebrew, Syriac, Yiddish, modern and ancient Greek, Arabic, Persian, Baltic and Celtic/ Gaelic languages (especially Irish)
  • texts relating to Europe-Africa connections; Europe and north American regions; Europe and South/East Asia; Europe-Muscovy/Russia; Scandinavia (esp. Sweden, Norway), the Baltic and Poland-Lithuania; the Low Countries, Portugal; Transylvania, Holy Roman Empire; Ireland; Savoy; Greece
  • Sephardic diaspora; Moriscos in Iberia; middle Eastern Christian diaspora

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