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[TAN] Gutenberg’s Critics (was Real Printing)

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  • Gerald Lange
    Paul ... photopolymer, digital composition and modern offset? You bet!
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2003
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      Paul

      >Would Bruce Rogers or Daniel Berkeley Updike have jumped at
      photopolymer, digital composition and modern offset? You bet!<

      Don't know about BR or DBU but Goudy's statements on "progress" are
      quite clear. He welcomed photo-composition, even if it meant a decline
      in quality. Tschichold too, was associated with some kind of
      investment in a failed photo-composition device in the 1930s.


      >Gutenberg's invention had the *potential* to bring books, pardons,
      printed forms, posters, newspapers, playbills, ticket stubs, flyers,
      and printed tin cans to the masses, but that would be the future. He
      printed for a small number of well-off organizations and people, like
      the Church. The first "humanist" printers printed for a small number
      of humanist scholars…and highly educated nobles….<

      I regard to you further comment, I haven't found notice of early
      debate about the merits or demerits of printing until after printing
      was established in Italy (the "humanist" printers era?), well over a
      decade-and-a-half after the practice began in Mainz. Though one could
      reasonably speculate that the expansion of printing itself paved the
      "material way" for such scholarly and theoretical debates to occur.

      There have been a number of scholarly studies counting the increasing
      numbers of printed books per year during incunabula, but I'm unsure if
      manuscript books could be counted as easily since they are obviously
      one of a kind, and often undated. My understanding though, is that
      "illuminated" manuscript production, particularly miniatures, actually
      increased with the advent of the printed book, and continued in
      strength well into the sixteenth century. This goes against the
      prevailing notion of "printing putting the scribe out of work."

      The rationale is thought two-fold. The printed book opened up the
      world to books of all sorts of persuasion, including the lowly wood
      block book. After the initial efforts, most specifically, the 42-line
      Bible and the Mainz Psalter, printing quality and resultant bookwork
      declined in quality, allowing the "traditional" manuscript book to
      capture and carry the upper end of the book buying market for quite
      some time.

      And now for Gutenberg, nah...

      Gerald
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