Intercolonial currents : printing press and book circulation in the Spanish Philippines, 1571-1821

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Hill, Matthew JK

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Although the printing and circulation of texts in Spanish America are well-documented phenomena, when it comes to the Philippines they have received far less attention. This dissertation addresses the large gap in scholarship in this area by examining press and book circulation activities in Spanish Manila from 1571 to 1821. Drawing on bibliographical and archival data this dissertation provides a macro-perspective on the role of the printing press in the islands, delineates general patterns of book importation into Manila, and exemplifies each of these trends in micro-perspective through case studies. Through these analyses I argue that the printed word had a constant presence from the beginning of the Spanish domination. I contend that the press in the islands, though relatively weak in comparison to the press in other colonial cities, was both relevant and important in the political, social, and historical development of the colony. Furthermore, I demonstrate that books were imported on a regular basis for educational, recreational, and religious use. Through the printed word, whether imported or produced domestically, Manila became the seat of a strong and vibrant intellectual tradition in the European fashion.



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