Gutenberg and the Impact of Printing  book cover
1st Edition

Gutenberg and the Impact of Printing

ISBN 9780754635376
Published February 28, 2005 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

From typefounding through typesetting to the printing process itself, this narrative offers a fresh look at the unprecedented success story of the spread of the 'black art' right across Europe in a mere 40 years. Stephan Füssel here analyses the first early printings, placing them in the context of the history of communication and the intellectual climate of a Europe-wide educated elite by about 1500. He foregrounds the tremendous rise in European culture and the history of education experienced as a direct result of this media revolution. In separate chapters Füssel depicts the fast spreading of the art of printing to Italy, France and England, at the same time highlighting the importance of the art of printing for the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation, the University and the economy. From herbals to a guide for midwives, the present book shows popular instruction at work in the vernacular, as well as the consolidation of knowledge into encyclopedias in the early modern period, and the emergence of new forms of the prose novel and the beginnings of newspapers and periodicals. Finally Stephan Füssel traces the modern resonances of Gutenberg's invention, which persisted in virtually unchanged form for a further 350 years. It underwent decisive technological change through industrialisation and mechanisation in the nineteenth century, and again through digitalisation at the close of the twentieth century. However, as Füssel shows, the mass diffusion of information and the related communications revolution which began with Gutenberg continue unabated.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Gutenberg - His Life and Work: The course of Gutenberg's life; Bringing the technical inventions together; The 'work of the books': the 42-line Bible; Jobbing printing in long runs; The 36-line Bible; The Catholicon; Gutenberg's final years; The successor workshop of Fust and Schoeffer. The Spread of Printing: Rome; Venice; Paris; The book in Britain. Printing and Humanism: Renaissance humanism; Editions of classical authors; Early humanism in Germany; Printing in Greek and Hebrew; Vadian and the provision of teaching texts; A few dissenting voices. Popular Instruction in the Vernacular: Popular books; Encyclopaedia; Fables; The Ulm Aesop; Practical books. Broadsides and the 'Latest News': News-sheets; A broadside view of the New World; Emperor Maximilian I; Printing and the Reformation: German Bibles before Luther; Luther's career; The main texts of the Reformers; Pamphlets; Luther's translation principles; Bible translation from 1522 to 1546. Gutenberg Goes Electronic: The on-going media revolution; Print on demand; Manuscripts on screen; Electronic ink. Bibliography; Picture Credits; Index.

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Professor Dr Stephan Füssel occupies the Gutenberg Chair at Mainz University, and is Director of the Institute for Book Studies there. He has published extensively in the fields of incunabula research, the publication ethos of Germany's classical authors, and the competitive media position of the book for the future. He edits the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch and is Vice President of the Willibald-Pirckheimer-Gesellschaft for research into the Renaissance and Humanism.


'... we long have lacked an up-to-date overview of the broader cultural impact of printing during its first century of development. Originally published in German as Gutenberg und seine Wirkung (1999), Füssel's book admirably fulfills this need with a fast-moving, far-reaching, and readable narrative... especially valuable in that it combines such a close account of Gutenberg's work with such a thorough overview of its impact, where figures such as Erasmus, Maximilian I, and Luther stand alongside the great printers as essential shapers of the print revolution... the book must be recommended highly to those who seek to understand early European typography in light of its cultural and intellectual relevance.' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 'Gutenberg and the Impact of Printing is a general history of the first years of printing in central Europe, with specific examples and ample illustration, providing a useful orientation for the reader new to the history of the book.' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 'This book is an authoritative work of cultural history narrated in a crisp and sprightly fashion... contains much intriguing and helpful information... this is a valuable account of the culture of late-fifteenth and early sixteenth-century Germany. It covers a lot of ground, but does so in an efficient and concise way that will be equally appealing to a newcomer to the subject or to a more specialist reader.' Journal of the Printing Historical Society 'It was first published in a German edition in 1999, to coincide with the 600-year celebration of Gutenberg's nominal birth-year in 2000. Its translation into English is welcome and various sections of the book will appeal respectively to specialists in the field and to interested, but less informed, readers... an ideal introduction for undergraduates or anyone new to the subject, [...] Füssel is assured on both technical and aesthetic issues. The detailed descriptions of and car