The House in the Golden Sun: The van Keerberghen printing dynasty, 1552-1629

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Schmidt, Lydia
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2019-04-25
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The House in the Golden Sun: The van Keerberghen printing dynasty, 1552-1629
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Despite religious conflict, rampant censorship, and war, the city of Antwerp dominated Early Modern printing. From 1552 to 1629, the van Keerberghen family and their printing house, In the Golden Sun, were at the forefront of the industry. I explore the tumultuous sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Antwerp through the prism of works published by the van Keerberghens, and their responses to the crises they faced. Peeter van Keerberghen, his son Jan I, and grandson Jan II faced considerable adversity during their careers. Peeter saw eminent printers publicly executed for their works, and was himself persecuted for distribution of forbidden literature. During the Eighty Years’ War, Jan I and Jan II experienced the Spanish occupation of Antwerp and the retaliatory Dutch blockade of the Schelde river, Antwerp’s primary international trade route. Nevertheless, they were respected printers and publishers, as well as collaborators - and powerful opponents - of famed printers Christoffel Plantijn and Balthasar Moretus. As pressure increased in Antwerp, the van Keerberghens turned their focus abroad, fighting Moretus for primacy on the world stage. The print industry was vital to Antwerp, and a frequent battleground for religious and political conflict. Its importance in economic, political, and educational infrastructure provides unique insight into the region’s successes and downfalls, and the publications themselves offer essential cultural context. By following the family’s rise to prominence, I show how these conflicts and challenges shaped printing as we know it today.Despite religious conflict, rampant censorship, and war, the city of Antwerp dominated Early Modern printing. From 1552 to 1629, the van Keerberghen family and their printing house, In the Golden Sun, were at the forefront of the industry. I explore the tumultuous sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Antwerp through the prism of works published by the van Keerberghens, and their responses to the crises they faced. Peeter van Keerberghen, his son Jan I, and grandson Jan II faced considerable adversity during their careers. Peeter saw eminent printers publicly executed for their works, and was himself persecuted for distribution of forbidden literature. During the Eighty Years’ War, Jan I and Jan II experienced the Spanish occupation of Antwerp and the retaliatory Dutch blockade of the Schelde river, Antwerp’s primary international trade route. Nevertheless, they were respected printers and publishers, as well as collaborators - and powerful opponents - of famed printers Christoffel Plantijn and Balthasar Moretus. As pressure increased in Antwerp, the van Keerberghens turned their focus abroad, fighting Moretus for primacy on the world stage. The print industry was vital to Antwerp, and a frequent battleground for religious and political conflict. Its importance in economic, political, and educational infrastructure provides unique insight into the region’s successes and downfalls, and the publications themselves offer essential cultural context. By following the family’s rise to prominence, I show how these conflicts and challenges shaped printing as we know it today.
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