European Fight Books 1305-1630: Classification, typology and comparison between manuscripts and prints
No bibliometric or analytic studies of the fight books have been conducted and few reference publications offer analyses of the genre as a whole. Moreover, the existing bibliographies all have their own limitations and do not allow for an investigation of the larger corpus. This contribution applies a typology developed by the author to the corpus of those fight books created between 1305 and 1630, for a total of 187 sources (manuscript and print). It also updates the bibliography published in 2016 for the same chronological framework. The author’s typology allows for a study, based on objective criteria, of the corpus and the genre alike. It analyses the impact of the development of printing technology on the production of knowledge about the art of fighting, as well as the main characteristics of the fight book genre. The limits of any bibliometric study and implementation of a typology are due, on the one hand, to the conservation of the primary sources compared to the documented corpus, and on the other to the extent of scientific investigation conducted into each element. Such limits are flagged and discussed in order to offer a proper classification of the fight books’ production prior to the Thirty Years War, where major changes affected books about fighting in Europe.
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