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The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800
Books, & the printed word more generally, are aspects of modern life that are all too often taken for granted. Yet the emergence of the book was a process of immense historical importance & heralded the dawning of the epoch of modernity. In this much praised history of that process, Lucien Febvre & Henri-Jean Martin mesh together economic and technological hist ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published April 17th 1997 by Verso (London/NYC)
(first published 1958)
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Books on Books: Bookmaking, Biblioclasm, Bibliophilia
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An oldie from grad school. It contains my favorite piece of trivia ever: "It was not until the 18th century that the efforts of Fournier and Didot forced the adoption of a definite standard of measurement, the points system, the 'point' being 144th the size of the king's foot. This is the unit of measurement used in typography to this day."
If you want to know about the beginning of books this scholarly work is for you. The author talks about the beginning of paper, the beginning of print and fonts, the way books were marketed and oh so much more. The book is a little dry and leans toward the French view of things but after reading it you will know how books began.
I'd read on subjects as insipid as the history of corn dogs if brilliant writers like Febvre chose to tackle them. Luckily, the Annales boys had their priorities in line. Probably the best written and compelling book/printing history I've read.
Lucien Paul Victor Febvre was a French historian best known for the role he played in establishing the Annales School of history.More about Lucien Febvre...