University at Albany

Excellence in Research
2003

Mary Beth Winn

Mary Beth Winn

The Award for Excellence in Research recognizes outstanding research and scholarship by members of the faculty over a sustained number of years.

French Studies expert Mary Beth Winn has focused her multi-faceted, interdisciplinary research on the publishing and book trade during the final few decades of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. Widely viewed as one of the turning points of Western history, this era closes out the Middle Ages and gives birth to the Renaissance in France.

Winn’s research focuses on the transition in the history of books, most notably the change from medieval manuscript to the printed volume. She offers a better understanding of European culture at a critical time in history through her study of the book’s history, structure, and functions.

Winn’s most important achievement to date is her book Anthoine Vérard, Parisian Publisher, 1485-1512. Vérard, the leading Parisian book publisher of his era, was regarded as the “father” of the French illustrated book. Vérard was both a prolific book maker and an illuminator. Winn’s research investigates his exploitation of printing for patronage, as well as his assertion of the publisher’s role.

Winn’s book has received excellent reviews in this country and in Europe. “This impressive book represents a work the scope of which few researchers these days are willing or able to undertake,” wrote the Sixteenth Century Journal. Winn has just been awarded her third Fellowship for Independent Study and Research from the National Endowment for the Humanities. (see “Faculty and Staff,” p. 3.)


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