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The Book in the Renaissance - Pettegree, Andrew - Yale University Press
History
Literary Studies

The Book in the Renaissance

  • Andrew Pettegree
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Winner of the 2011 Phyllis Goodhart Gordon Book Prize, presented by the Renaissance Society of America

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

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.

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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