by John D. Fudge
Communications and the spread of nonconformist views were key to the spiritual upheaval that gripped many parts of northern Europe in the 1520s. Emphasising economic and cultural hegemony, this book explores the transmission of innovation through networks of trade. Interrelated themes include commercial typography, legal and illicit book distribution, espionage, and censorship. These are elaborated through a series of episodes involving printers and patrician oligarchs, spies and fugitives, and pamphleteers and entrepreneurs. The accent on commerce and print broadens the interpretive scope for study of the early Reformation beyond national, political, or exclusively religious contexts. It also leads to a reassessment of some conventional assumptions about merchants as distributors of Scripture texts and reformist propaganda.