The Early Days of Print…

The New York Times has a nice review of Andrew Petegree’s “The Book in the Renaissance”  which argues that “Print, in Pettegree’s account, was never as dignified or lofty a medium as that “humanist mythology” of disseminated classics would suggest. There was, it seems, a familiar gnashing of teeth at the dawn on the print age:

The “fluid, transitional nature of communication” during printing’s first heyday naturally attracted detractors. “This is what the printing presses do: they corrupt susceptible hearts” wrote the “dyspeptic Benedictine” Filippo de Strata. Clumsy and unreliable editions led to “the charge that print had debased the book.” By making book ownership more common, print also “diminished the lustre of the Renaissance library,” causing many collections to dwindle or dissolve altogether as “the library as a cultural institution struggled to adapt to the new age.”

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1 comment so far

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