The Book: The Life Story of a Technology

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 - History - 171 pages

One of life's most frequently encountered technologies is perhaps the one most often taken for granted: the printed book. Daily contact with books makes these everyday objects so familiar that one is apt to forget that the invention of the book has more profoundly altered civilization than almost any other invention. This volume provides a broad overview of the printed book's development across many centuries, cultures, and in a variety of fields. It highlights the forerunners and offshoots of books that have come from and been dispersed to all corners of the globe. The creation of a single book requires diverse skills and techniques that have taken centuries to develop. This addition to the Greenwood Technographies series will give readers of all ages a greater appreciation for this familiar phenomenon that is part of everyone's life.

The Book: The Life Story of a Technology provides a concise overview of many of the most compelling and important stories of the history of book printing:

- The history of books, from papyrus scrolls to e-books

- The importance of Gutenberg and his historical context

- The development of book materials, bindings, typefaces, and printing methods

- The book's social and cultural influences, from scientific research and religious beliefs to the structure of government

- Modern technological advances in book printing technology, from linotype and lithography to computer composition and electronic publishing

The volume includes a glossary of terms, a timeline of important events, and a selected bibliography of useful resources for further information.

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Selected pages


Ancestors Books before Print
Infancy The Earliest Printed Books 14501500
Youth Books in the Sixteenth Century
Adulthood EarlyModern Books 16001800
Maturity Books in the Age of Automation 18001900
The Future of Books Twentieth Century and Beyond

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Page ix - For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are ; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.
Page 81 - I thank God, there are no free schools, nor printing, and I hope we shall not have, these hundred years ; for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best of government. God keep us from both...
Page 101 - ... stolne and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors that expos'd them; even those are now offer'd to your view cur'd and perfect of their limbes, and all the rest absolute in their numbers as he conceived them; who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it.
Page 83 - The plain Truth of the Matter is, I am excessive poor, and my Wife, good Woman, is, I tell her, excessive proud; she cannot bear, she says, to sit spinning in her Shift of Tow, while I do nothing but gaze at the Stars; and has...
Page 83 - Men are now adays too wise to be deceiv'd by Pretences how specious soever. The plain Truth of the Matter is, I am excessive poor, and my Wife, good Woman, is, I tell her, excessive proud; she cannot bear, she says, to sit spinning in her Shift...
Page 51 - I haue practysed and lerned at my grete charge and dispense to ordeyne this said book in prynte after the maner and forme as ye may here see...

About the author (2005)

Nicole Howard is assistant professor of history at California State University, East Bay.

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