Apothecaries' cornets: Books as waste paper in the Renaissance

Emily Butterworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
255 Downloads (Pure)


Recycling a book's pages as waste paper was a literary commonplace in Antiquity and the early modern period, a way of imagining literary and physical mortality, but it was also a material practice. This article explores the material and the textual culture of the motif in sixteenth-century France, focusing on the printed page as material object. The underlying preoccupations of the motif – waste, copiousness, and materiality – offer ways of analysing the relationship between the material book and the immaterial text and how Renaissance writers conceived of the book and its recycling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-913
Number of pages23
JournalMLN - Modern Language Notes
Issue number4
Early online date1 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


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