Religious lieux de savoir in premodern Tours and Orléans: A Social and Spatial Approach to Religious Reading in French (c. 1450-c. 1550)

LE STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal, 2020, 4, 50-54

Margriet Hoogvliet1, 2, 3, Chiara Lastraioli2


1 LE STUDIUM Institute for Advanced Studies, 45000 Orléans, France

2Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Université de Tours

3Département d'Histoire de la Littérature en Europe pré-moderne, Université de Groningue – Pays-Bas


The research has shown to that up to ca. 1550 many of the inhabitants of “average” French towns as Tours and Orléans were literate and that they did have access to religious texts in French, contrarily to ideas regularly expressed in historical scholarship. Archival documents, as well as surviving handwritten texts and printed books have provided information about the wide range of social backgrounds of the readers, from stocking makers in Tours and Orléans, the grandson of Gaultiere who ran the public baths in Tours, to well-off merchants and lawyers. Next to books and their owners, the research has resulted in evidence about the presence and location of libraries, open access texts and books, booksellers and printers. Furthermore, an inventory of a book collection (probably a bookshop) with more than 276 books in French in Tours has given much data about textual cultures and reading interests. The historical data often allow plotting these “lieux de savoir” on historical maps of premodern Tours and Orléans. Further analysis of places of religious knowledge by making use of computerised Geographical Information Systems allow for more refined conclusions about concentrations (near religious institutions and schools) and accessibility (in the heart of urban life). The project has already resulted in one accepted peer-reviewed publication; two other articles and a collection of articles in open access, authored by specialists in the field, are in preparation.


Late Middle Ages/Renaissance
History of Religious Reading
Urban history (Tours, Orléans)
Book History
Spatial Humanities
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Le STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal