Selections from Special Collections


J. Mérigot



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[72] p.: 62 col. plates (incl. front.).

Some of the pages in this document were selected as part of a class project for Professor Garth Bond’s History of the Book seminar, Spring 2012. The abstract was prepared by Megan Hagar and Ariella Morik.

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Rome (Italy) -- Pictorial works -- Early works to 1800. Rome (Italy) -- Antiquities -- Early works to 1800. Italy -- Pictorial works -- Early works to 1800.


The Views and Ruins of Rome and It's Vicinity, published in 1798 is a significant body of work because of the function it once served at the turn of the 19th century. The size and effect of the magnificent images of ancient Roman ruins are intended to imitate reality. We often think of paratextual elements as anything included inside and outside the binding of a book except for the text. Interestingly, I interpret this modern day coffee table book as a platform for the paratext to converse with itself. The text doesn't hold much weight here, nor is that its intention. The author of the text isn't specified in the title page, where it is traditionally found, which indicates that the text is not the focal point of the book. But what are we to understand of books like this? Who cares to understand about the distinction between paratext and text? This particular book composed by J. Mérigot will give us some insight into why we should care. -Ariella Morik. Printed in 1798, A Select Collection of Views and Ruins in Rome and its Vicinity by J. Mérigot is essentially an anthology interesting places to visit in Rome. The publishers designed this book to inform the public of places to visit by accompanying each picture with a historically contextualizing blurb as well as provide visual stimulation. The preface of this book directly lays out the intention behind publishing the book. It does not assume a grand historical importance; rather, it is simply meant "to him who has already visited, or to him who is about to visit the great objects themselves, they may supply the means of agreeable recollection, or of increased and less ignorant curiosity." Instead of speaking directly to the reader, it tries to provide contextualization of the book in the reader's mind. It represents an interesting shift from that of the author speaking directly to the reader. -Megan Hagar


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Selected pages from A select collection of views and ruins in Rome and its vicinity : recently executed from drawings made upon the spot.