Andrew Pettegree: The Book in the Renaissance
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In his well-researched The Book in the Renaissance, Andrew Pettegree describes the development of print and the book market in early modern Europe and its massive social, historical, theological and cultural ramifications throughout the Renaissance period. Instead of focusing on Gutenberg, as many introductions to print history do, the author has wisely chosen a wide and interdisciplinary perspective spanning from the late middle ages to the end of the 16th century.
First, Pettegree discusses the prerequisites for the invention and ultimate success of printing in detail. Part I, appropriately titled “Beginnings”, describes the transition from scroll to codex, from papyrus to parchment and finally rag-based paper. On the basis of these prerequisites, the author delineates the process of manuscript production (including the role of scribes) and the pre-print book market of the early Renaissance. Pettegree situates Gutenberg, his invention and the ensuing age of incunabula within this...