Locating Devotion: Sermon Titles and the early modern Book Trade

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This article considers the place that sermons held in the early modern book market through a quantitative survey of the title pages of sermon-books published in English between 1620 and 1642. Working from an EEBO dataset, this research examines four features of title pages: (a) dating referents, (b) location referents, (c) references to the clerical living or status of the preacher, and (d) whether the books were collections. This research demonstrates that the vast majority of sermon-books declared their place of preaching (74%) and the occasion of their preaching (67%). This article explores how the book buying public’s interest in novelty and the initial performance of the sermon shaped the use of paratextual material. It proposes that the printed sermon makes the page into a privately accessible space to connect with the publicly experienced communal time of the performed sermon.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Library: the transactions of the Bibliographical Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Early Modern England
  • Religion and literature
  • Book history
  • Digital humanities


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