The Book in the Renaissance
The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals in this work of great historical merit, the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe.
The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic, and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his state-of-the-art and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This award-winning book covers the early history of the printed word from 1450 to 1600. Although at times a lengthy read, the book is well worth the price of purchase for some of the fascinating mini-histories Professor Pettegree writes. For instance, his multi-chapter look at how Luther and his controversies fueled the early printing industry in Germany is fascinating, as is his discussion of how the first printers decided what to print and how to distribute their products. His chapters on the later 16th century print industry include such gems as a discussion of the development of fiction and how printers and the reading public dealt with the explosion of observable science. Professor Pettegree’s most important contribution, however, is his insistence on the important of ephemera to the printing industry. Hand bills, posters, city ordinances, one-page publications of popular songs, news sheets full of monsters and portents all helped pay the printers’ ways. Although most of these everyday print objects were used until they disintegrated or were destroyed by wind and weather, they were quick to produce and usually profitable. Without them, many regional printers could not stay in business. The book itself is quite readable, full of interesting stories and sidelights, and very suitable for college students. It is an important contribution to both cultural and intellectual history.
Review: The Book in the RenaissanceUser Review - Goodreads
An exhaustive (and exhausting) economic history of print. If you need to know about the production, circulation, and use of books in the European Renaissance, this is absolutely the title for you. If ...