Deliver to your Kindle or other device

 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available
 

The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Canto Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £12.99
Kindle Price: £12.34 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £0.65 (5%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £12.34  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £12.99  
Unknown Binding --  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.


Product Description

Review

' the first comprehensive account of the difference made by the introduction and rapid spread of printing and printers' workshops. a useful introduction to the kinds of preliminary question which students might be encouraged to ask ' Katy Hooper, University of Liverpool

Product Description

In 1979 Elizabeth Eisenstein provided the first full-scale treatment of the fifteenth-century printing revolution in the West in her monumental two-volume work, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. This abridged edition, after summarising the initial changes introduced by the establishment of printing shops, goes on to discuss how printing challenged traditional institutions and affected three major cultural movements: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the rise of modern science. Also included is a later essay which aims to demonstrate that the cumulative processes created by printing are likely to persist despite the recent development of new communications technologies.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 31187 KB
  • Print Length: 406 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0521607744
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (25 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FF6QBFM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #570,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

5 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the last 2 chapters were my favorite 29 Jan. 2005
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book to read if you are interested in the history of printing. Eisenstein's thesis is that the advent of the printing press is the most logical point at which the medieval period of European history ends and the Renaissance begins. She shows how many so-called innovations in science, religion, and politics were directly related to the ready availability of books - not necessarily to increased brilliance on the part of mankind.
Eisenstein disagrees with scholars who point to the lag between the press and the beginning of the Renaissance as proof that the press did not make an appreciable difference. Books, Eisenstein says, had to accumulate in order to make their presence felt. The lag was due to a sort of scholarly catch-up. First the printers rushed to issue the volumes that many people wanted but had been unable to afford previously. Once those were printed, disparities could become apparent. Scribes freed from the tedious process of copying books had the leisure to notice errors and disagreements among authors which had not been apparent when books were scattered and rare. This process caused a deceptive lag between the advent of the press and real improvements in cartography and science.
The last two chapters of the book were the most interesting to me. Among other things, Eisenstein talks about the way early Protestant printers beefed out their catalogues by referring to the Catholic Index (the list of books forbidden by the Pope). Once Europe became split into Catholic and Protestant nations, the Index had the unexpected effect of boosting sales for books listed on the Index, making some protestant printers their fortunes.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The printing press = the World Wide Web 8 Feb. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Occasionally, a book has initial, unseen qualities that must wait many years before society reaches a point where it can fully appreciate it. Dr. Eisenstein's wonderful work is actually an abridged version for the lay historian of her much longer, more scholarly and definitive two-volume work on how the printing press changed civilization.
Our transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based civilization will probably create the most extensive and radical transformation of our civilization since the printing press. Knowledge of how the printing press changed European civilization may help us understand the changes resulting from the Internet today.
As Dr. Eisenstein explains, the Protestant Reformation would almost certainly never have occurred without the printing press. Will there be an equivalent movement today? Dr. Eisenstien highlights how the printing press defined the linguistic and cultural borders of present-day Europe, encouraged the use and teaching of the vernacular, and eliminated Latin as the international tongue of the educated classes. I wonder, will the WWW again reconstitute our current Babel of languages into a single language, English, as it once atomized the common language of Latin among literate people?
Eisenstein illustrates the printing press' role as the chief cause of the elevation of the individual over the social unit during the Enlightenment. For the first time, individual authorship could exist in a way that was impossible in the age of scribes. It brought the kind of immediate personal fame and recognition that was inconceivable in the Dark Ages. Galileo's Siderius nuncius, for example, made him an overnight sensation. Will we see further radicalization of the individual relative to society, now that the WWW has made it possible to pursue "publication" even more narrowly, without the need for a broad and popular readership? For a preview of how this is already occurring, visit GeoCities on the WWW.
According to Eisenstein, the loss of knowledge in the age of scribes was a constant and inevitable consequence of limited numbers of laboriously hand-made copies. Whenever truly new knowledge was gained, it had no mechanism for dispersal. The previous invention of clocks and the knowledge of how to make them had been lost to the Chinese when Europeans discovered them, because the absence of printing in China limited the knowledge base. Their calendars were off, and they had to be taught all over again by the Europeans how to correct them. The WWW is a far more effective means for the dispersal of knowledge today even than printing. Will it create similar opportunities in novel thinking?
Eisenstein points out that the perishability of written documents, even on sheepskin, meant that few scholars were granted access to them, and documents were kept locked away for fear of theft or just simple wear. They were unavailable to the public, which couldn't read anyway, and even to most scholars. She explains how the very concept of the term `discovery' has changed, by describing how the search for knowledge in the scribal culture of the Middle Ages actually meant trying to recover the works of the Ancients, not the discovery of new things.
Eisenstein explains how, with the advent of the printing press, it suddenly became possible to preserve knowledge simply by printing such large numbers of books that humanity need never again fear such a tragic loss as occurred with the dispersal of the works gathered together at the great Egyptian library at Alexandria. The cost of books fell off a cliff, making knowledge available to nearly everyone. As she quotes in her book:
"In 1483, the Ripoli Press charged three florins per quinterno for setting up and printing Ficino's translation of Plato's Dialogues. A scribe might have charged one florin per quinterno for duplicating the same work. The Ripoli Press produced 1,025 copies; the scribe would have turned out one."
By comparison to what books cost in the Age of Scribes, they became virtually free. Will a similar revolution occur when the cost of telecommunications falls off a cliff?
Eisenstein feels that the use of the small numbers of works available to teachers in the universities of Medieval Europe, and even early modern Europe, greatly retarded the progress of learning. As she states, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler "... had an opportunity to survey a wider range of records and to use more reference guides than any astronomer before...". The sheer number of works to which the young Tycho Brahe had access surpassed the best libraries of medieval and ancient times. They allowed him to leave school, educate himself, compare alternative explanations unavailable to his teachers, and form new theories, without the stifling restrictions of centuries of traditional university thinking.
It is not a stretch for us to imagine a new world in which the WWW will create similar changes in the way people learn. It will make possible widespread, cheap, unlimited knowledge and teaching, at a fraction of the cost of traditional universities. Why limit the number of students, meeting times and places for courses on the WWW the way physical locations do? Why should some courses even have an end? It will make it possible for individuals to pursue individual study at any age, and without restriction as to time or place. Will this cause the kinds of intellectual breakthroughs today that the printing press made possible in the enlightenment? As Dr. Eisenstein says, "Combinatory intellectual activity, as Arthur Koestler has suggested, inspires many creative acts." If the WWW isn't combinatory with a vengeance, nothing is.
Eisenstein devotes considerable space to how the advent of the printing press produced dramatic changes in language, social behavior, government power and the movement of intellectual and financial capital. She explains how the existence of the Index (a list by Catholic scholars and the Vatican of prohibited publications), and extensive restrictions in Catholic countries on what printers could publish, caused a massive flight of intellectual and financial capital to the Protestant countries, where there were fewer restrictions on printing, a situation that explains the relative technological inferiority of Southern European countries to this day. According to Dr. Eisenstein:
"The influx of religious refugees into Calvin's Geneva in the 1550s `radically' altered the professional structure of the city. The number of printers and booksellers jumped from somewhere between three and six to some three hundred or more. ...Geneva gained in the 1550s at French expense"
Will we see a similar flight of capital today from countries like France and China that restrict their citizens' use of the WWW? Will widespread government restriction of encryption technology cripple their countries' technological superiority? Who will benefit, and who will suffer?
Eisenstien shows the many ways in which the printing press caused dramatic changes in the ways people associated, fracturing society in multiple new directions. Does this presage the extensive new divisions within our culture today? Will it make political parties as presently constituted irrelevant? Will it drive a wedge between different cultures?
This book was written in 1983, long before the explosion of the WWW., so Dr. Eisenstein did not consciously pursue parallels with our current information revolution. However, this makes the incredible similarity of the social and technological changes she notes even more remarkable, since they were not consciously drawn
Robert Loest, Ph.D.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astute, insightful scholarship on a crucial topic. 28 Sept. 1998
By Rolland H. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Professor Eisenstein has answered a question I have been asking myself for thirty years. I knew that "modern" Europe consisted of institutions based upon the "individual" -- protestantism, capitalism, universal education and modern science -- and that these first arose in Europe about 500 years ago. But I could not answer why then? And why Europe? I suspected that it had to do with the rise of stranger experience but could not locate a convincing historical cause for it. Print literacy first occured to me as the cause when I read Walter Ong's book, "Orality and Literacy," which also happily cited Prof. Eisenstein's work. Her book convincingly implicates the print revolution with the rise of the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and Modern Science.Her thesis made it easy for me to see how the other three institutions could be included as well and to see the role of print in spreading "individuation" and assumptions associated with it, such as the idea of progress. It is remarkable that historians have apparently ignored for so long the role of print literacy in creating modernity. Scholars, including myself, sometimes seem to find the obvious the most inscrutable. Anyway, my personal and heartfelt thanks go to Professor Eisenstein for answering my nagging question.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read the *unabridged version*| 10 Oct. 1999
By Brad McCormick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is fine, but it doesn't really capture the full power of the unabridged version: "The Printing Press as an Agent of Change" (2 vols in 1; Cambridge Univ. Press -- possibly currently out of print). The unabridged version (which is still much too short!) is one of the great books of the 20th century. I just didn't see the abridged versino as really "bringing home" the significance of Eisenstein's theses about the effects of print technology on Western civilization.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the last 2 chapters were my favorite 31 July 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book to read if you are interested in the history of printing. Eisenstein's thesis is that the advent of the printing press is the most logical point at which the medieval period of European history ends and the Renaissance begins. She shows how many so-called innovations in science, religion, and politics were directly related to the ready availability of books-not necessarily to increased brilliance on the part of mankind.
Eisenstein disagrees with scholars who point to the lag between the press and the beginning of the Renaissance as proof that the press did not make an appreciable difference. Books, Eisenstein says, had to accumulate in order to make their presence felt. The lag was due to a sort of scholarly catch-up. First the printers rushed to issue the volumes that many people wanted but had been unable to afford previously. Once those were printed, disparities could become apparent. Scribes freed from the tedious process of copying books had the leisure to notice errors and disagreements among authors which had not been apparent when books were scattered and rare. This process caused a deceptive lag between the advent of the press and real improvements in cartography and science.
The last two chapters of the book were the most interesting to me. Among other things, Eisenstein talks about the way early Protestant printers beefed out their catalogues by referring to the Catholic Index (the list of books forbidden by the Pope). Once Europe became split into Catholic and Protestant nations, the Index had the unexpected effect of boosting sales for books listed on the Index, making some protestant printers their fortunes. Not only were Protestants eager to read whatever the Pope had banned (and Catholic priests obligingly cited chapter and line of objectionable material, with the result that the protestant scholars were able to cut right to the chase), but many early scientific books on the Index were much sought after in Catholic countries, and with their printers under heavy pressure to forbear, Protestant printers just over the border made a fortune in black-market books.
Eisenstein's style is somewhat pedantic (which was to be expected; this is a thesis, after all). However, I give the book 4 stars instead of 5 because quotes are frequently uncited-a nearly unforgivable sin in a research book. We are frequently given rather large blocks of quoted text with absolutely no way of connecting this material to any given authors in the bibliography. The fact that the book is an abridgement is no excuse.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Printing triggered a communication revolution 17 Jan. 2008
By James Hoogerwerf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Eisenstein, in the absence of literature on the consequences of the fifteenth-century shift from script to print, sees her work as a preliminary effort. She presents the advent of print, which triggered a communication revolution, in two parts. The first discusses the main features of the communication revolution and the second relates to developments that occurred during the transition between medieval literate culture and that of early modern times. This second point is very important and Eisenstein emphatically states: "I regard printing as an agent, not the agent, let alone the only agent, of change."(xiii)

Part I.: Eisenstein identifies and discusses some of the features of the print culture. These are: a changing pattern of cultural diffusion, standardization, reorganized texts and reference guides, correcting errors and data, preservation of knowledge, and how print cultures helped perpetuate "stereotypes and sociolinguistic divisions." Another feature, discussed at length, is the pervasiveness of silent scanning. In this way the reading public became more individualistic and nationalistic. The author suggests "the disjuncture between the new mode of production and the older modes of consumption is only one of many complications that need further study."(92)

Part II: Eisenstein selects three particular developments, each interacting with print, "which seem strategic in the shaping of the modern mind."(106). These are the Renaissance, the Reformation, and print's effect on science.

The problem with defining the Renaissance as a period marking the advent of modernity, according to Eisenstein, is whether "the period contains a major historical transformation and hence should be set apart."(111) In her opinion the advent of printing is something specific that can be discussed objectively rather than using the more subjective meanings of "medieval" and "modern." She proposes redefining the term Renaissance as a two phased movement to include the cultural changes brought on by print.

With print technology, Church leaders lost their monopoly on reading and interpreting the Bible. The Bible could be read privately and interpreted more fundamentally when printed in the vernacular and more widely distributed. Martin Luther's words were spread farther and carried greater weight with printing. The Catholic Church responded by resorting to censorship.

The scientific revolution is less revolutionary when studied contemporaneously according to Eisenstein, then retrospectively. That way we see the effect of Copernican and other ideas on science going forward. Print helped to disseminate and perpetuate scientific ideas for later consumption.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category