Photo of Paul Nelles

Paul Nelles

Associate Professor - 16th-18th c. France and Italy; intellectual and cultural history; religious cultures; history of the book and libraries; historical writing; history of food

Degrees:B.A. (UBC), M.A. (Johns Hopkins), Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2823
Office:410 Paterson Hall

My research centres on the intellectual culture of the Renaissance, and especially on the libraries, public and private, that both fostered that culture and were in turn served by it.  I have published on books, readers and libraries in early modern France, Italy, England and Germany, and on the role of writing and communication in the early Society of Jesus.  I teach undergraduate courses in early modern European history, and supervise graduate students pursuing research in the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of early modern Europe.

Professor Nelles is currently open to accepting new graduate students.

Research Interests:

  • history of the book
  • history of libraries
  • history of communication
  • early modern Catholicism, especially the Jesuits
  • history of food

Select Publications

“Martyrs and Madonnas: Inácio de Azevedo, the Brazil Martyrs, and the Global Circulation of the Madonna of Santa Maria Maggiore” Religions 14, no. 5 (2023): 617.

“Movement and Mobility in the Early Modern World: An Introduction.” (With Rosa Salzberg.) In Connected Mobilities: the Practice and Experience of Movement in the Early Modern World, edited by P. Nelles and R. Salzberg, 7–38. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2023.

“Devotion in Transit. Agnus Dei, Jesuit Missionaries, and Global Salvation in the Sixteenth Century.” In Connected Mobilities: the Practice and Experience of Movement in the Early Modern World, edited by P. Nelles and R. Salzberg, 185–214. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2023.

“Knowledge.” In A Cultural History of Ideas. Volume 3. The Renaissance, edited by J. Kraye, 15–38. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.

“Libraries and Catalogs.” InThe Princeton Companion to the History of Information. Ed. A. Blair, P. Duguid, and A.T. Grafton. Pp. 567–78. Princeton, 2021.

“Jesuit Letters.” In The Oxford Handbook of Jesuits. Ed. I. G. Zupinov. Pp. 44–72. Oxford, 2019.

Books in Motion in Early Modern Europe. Beyond Production, Circulation, and Consumption. Co-editor with D. Bellingradt  and J. Salman. London, 2017.

“The Vatican Library Alphabets, Luca Orfei, and Graphic Media in Sistine Rome.” In For the Sake of Learning: essays in honor of Anthony Grafton. Ed. A. Blair and A.-S. Goeing. Pp. 441–68. Leiden, 2016.

Cosas y cartas: Scribal Production and Material Pathways in Jesuit Global Communication (1547–1573).” Journal of Jesuit Studies (2015): 421–50.

“Chancillería en colegio: la producción y circulación de papeles jesuitas en el siglo XVI.” Cuadernos de Historia Moderna. Anejos 13 (2014): 49–70. (Special issue: La Memoria del mundo: clero, erudición y cultura escrita en el mundo ibérico (siglos XVI–XVIII). Ed. F. Palomo.)

“Stocking a Library: Montaigne, the Market, and the Diffusion of Print.” In La Librairie de Montaigne. Ed. P. Ford and N. Kenny. Pp. 1–24. Cambridge, 2012.

“Seeing and Writing: the Art of Observation in the Early Jesuit Missions.”  Intellectual History Review 20/3 (2010): 317-333.  Special issue: Note-taking and Notebooks from Da Vinci to Darwin.  Ed.  Ann Blair and Richard Yeo.

“Reading and Memory in the Universal Library: Conrad Gessner and the Renaissance Book.” Ars Reminiscendi: Mind and Memory in Renaissance Culture. Ed. Donald Beecher and Grant Williams. Pp. 147-169. Toronto, 2009.

“Libros de papel, libri bianchi, libri papyracei: Note-Taking Techniques and the Role of Student Notebooks in the Early Jesuit Colleges.” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 76 (2007): 75-112.

“Du savant au missionnaire: la doctrine, les moeurs et l’écriture de l’histoire chez les jésuites.” XVII siècle 59 (2007): 669-689.

“The Uses of Orthodoxy and Jacobean Erudition: Thomas James and the Bodleian Library.” History of Universities 22 (2007): 21-70.