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The Book in the Renaissance

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Overview

The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals in this work of great historical merit, the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe.

The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic, and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his state-of-the-art and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Pinsky
In an understated, judicious manner, [Pettegree] offers a radically new understanding of printing in the years of its birth and youth…Pettegree writes well and amasses information superbly.
—The New York Times
The New York Times Book Review

“In an understated, judicious manner, [Pettegree] offers a radically new understanding of printing in the years of its birth and youth.”—Robert Pinsky, New York Times Book Review

— Robert Pinsky

Atlantic.com
“Pettegree…examines an earlier rocky transition in the history of the written word: not the transition from print to digital, but the transition from manuscript books to print.”—Heather Horn, TheAtlantic.com
College & Research Libraries
". . . a highly readable volume, . . . the text carefully navigates a balance between popular history and scholarly monograph."—Timothy J. Dickey, College & Research Libraries
— Timothy J. Dickey
RBM

"By far the most significant publication yet on the social history of the book.  . . . It is, by far, one of the most significant library-related books I have ever read in many a year; I cannot recommend it highly enough."—Norman D. Stevens, RBM

— Norman D. Stevens

Renaissance Quarterly
“Well written and…a useful introduction to readers unfamiliar with the subject.”—Renaissance Quarterly
The New Yorker

“[A] fine new study.”—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

— Adam Gopnik

Journal of Modern History

"[H]istorians in many fields and of many regions will find [Pettegree's] suggestions valuable and well-founded. Like all great historical surveys, The Book in the Renaissance will provoke new rounds of questioning."—Adrian Johns, Journal of Modern History

— Adrian Johns

Choice

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the General category.

— Choice Outstanding Academic Title

The New York Times Book Review - Robert Pinsky
“[Pettegree] offers a radically new understanding of printing in the years of its birth and youth.”—Robert Pinsky, New York Times Book Review
Henry Kamen
“An authoritative, innovative and succinct account of one of the most fundamental issues in Renaissance history, the role of the printed book.”—Henry Kamen
College & Research Libraries - Timothy J. Dickey
". . . a highly readable volume, . . . the text carefully navigates a balance between popular history and scholarly monograph."—Timothy J. Dickey, College & Research Libraries
RBM - Norman D. Stevens
"By far the most significant publication yet on the social history of the book.  . . . It is, by far, one of the most significant library-related books I have ever read in many a year; I cannot recommend it highly enough."—Norman D. Stevens, RBM
The New Yorker - Adam Gopnik
“[A] fine new study.”—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books
“[A] masterpiece...Pettegree is a splendid storyteller.”—RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage
Journal of Modern History - Adrian Johns
"[H]istorians in many fields and of many regions will find [Pettegree's] suggestions valuable and well-founded. Like all great historical surveys, The Book in the Renaissance will provoke new rounds of questioning."—Adrian Johns, Journal of Modern History
Choice - Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the General category.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300178210
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2011
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 678,741
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 5.58 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Pettegree is Head of the School of History at the University of St. Andrews and founding director of the St. Andrews Reformation Studies Institute.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Prelude

Part I Beginnings

1 The Book Before Print 3

2 The Invention of Printing 21

3 Renaissance Encounters: The Crisis of Print 43

Part II Consolidation

4 The Creation of a European Book Market 65

5 Book Town Wittenberg 91

6 Luther's Legacy 107

7 First with the News 130

8 Polite Recreations 151

9 At School 177

Part III Conflict

10 The Literature of Conflict 203

11 The Search for Order 226

12 Market Forces 249

Part IV New Worlds

13 Science and Exploration 273

14 Healing 297

15 Building a Library 319

16 Word and the Street 333

A Note on Sources: Mapping the Geography of Print 353

Appendix: A Summary of printed outputs throughout Europe, 1450-1600 357

Acknowledgements 358

Abbreviations 360

Notes 362

Bibliography 391

Index 408

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