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Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy

af Brian Richardson

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
231810,312 (4)1
The spread of printing to Renaissance Italy had a dramatic impact on all users of books. As works came to be diffused more widely and cheaply, so authors had to adapt their writing and their methods of publishing to the demands and opportunities of the new medium, and reading became a more frequent and user-friendly activity. Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy focuses on this interaction between the book industry and written culture. After describing the new technology and the contexts of publishing and bookselling, it examines the continuities and changes faced by writers in the shift from manuscript to print, the extent to which they benefited from print in their careers, and the greater accessibility of books to a broader spectrum of readers, including women and the less well educated. This is the first integrated study of a topic of central importance in Italian and European culture.… (mere)
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It's been well over a year since I read this book, and what I'm struck by in memory is that while I remember having some difficulty with the tone of the text, the overwhelming sense of control and innovation of the time has stayed with me.

One of the more distancing elements of writing about books and printers and printing is that it almost always involves a cataloging of names and dates and sizes and materials, etc. It can often seem to defeat the purpose of whatever narrative is being relayed - like the relationships between people and books in Italy during the Renaissance.

There is an almost physical relationship, like children on a see-saw, between the technological advances that made books far less expensive and accessible to people well outside the educated upper classes, and the efforts of the Church and her Inquisitors to control access to and the information in those texts. Seen at a distance, it is clear as day that the authorities scrambled to establish new laws and close old loopholes almost every time a new type of book came out. The violence and suppression were almost shocking, though that could easily have been because of my own ignorance, rather than any presentation of the time.

We do forget how much of the explosion of creativity and scientific study happened under the threat of ex-communication, death, and worse. The Renaissance was not a time of life filled with oil paints and curvaceous models just waiting for their block of marble. Every innovation was a challenge to the established order. And it was the stability of such an establishment that nurtured the possibilities for these developments.

The ability of books to silently challenge the way of things is always in evidence, here no less than anywhere else.

I was particularly struck by the two lines that told of a young man who was taken off to the Inquistors because it was said that he read too much. Everything that I learned from this book revolves around that story. It is an important read, and well worth it. ( )
  WaxPoetic | Feb 28, 2011 |
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The spread of printing to Renaissance Italy had a dramatic impact on all users of books. As works came to be diffused more widely and cheaply, so authors had to adapt their writing and their methods of publishing to the demands and opportunities of the new medium, and reading became a more frequent and user-friendly activity. Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy focuses on this interaction between the book industry and written culture. After describing the new technology and the contexts of publishing and bookselling, it examines the continuities and changes faced by writers in the shift from manuscript to print, the extent to which they benefited from print in their careers, and the greater accessibility of books to a broader spectrum of readers, including women and the less well educated. This is the first integrated study of a topic of central importance in Italian and European culture.

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