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The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Canto Classics) Paperback – Abridged, 29 Mar 2012
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'This is a good and important book … the author's clear and forceful style makes it a pleasure to read.' The New York Review of Books
This edition discusses the changes introduced by the establishment of printing shops and how printing affected major cultural movements: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the rise of modern science. It also demonstrates that the cumulative processes created by printing are likely to persist despite the development of new technologies.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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 ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The book can be dry at times (even in this relatively short book, she's covering a lot of material) but it is well worth the reading. To get an idea of how she thinks, this is a useful video featuring her as well: