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Реферат: Books /english/


We may have the great honour to be present at the decline of printing as
such. The book as the mass pastime have been ousted from our lives for
several decades already. Modern electronic mass-media (radio,
television) are ousting books more and more; the bookshelves in people’s
homes are getting sparce. However, several hundreds years ago the
invention of printing was the initial factor that at once changed all
conditions of the intellectual life of Western Europe.

The present paper is an attempt at seeing connections between the
invention of printing and one of the most significant events in the life
of mediaeval Europe – the Reformation. The fighting of the Catholic
church against books and the creation of the powerful institution of
censoreship will be viewed. There will also be an attempt to view how
printing stimulated the growth of national conscience and the forming of
literary language. Besides that, the development of political science in
the 16th century and the formation of the bases of the future middle
class and the basic political parties will be touched upon.



In Europe the books became cheaper and more wide-spread when the use of
paper became more frequent, especially as a strong rise of intellectual
life of society went together with this after the crusades and the
development of universities. In the 13th century there was a special
post in the universities, the so called STATIONARII. These people urged
students to copy books, took books on commission from the Jewish usurers
who did not have the right to sell books themselves and from leaving
students; therefore the stationarii were the first booksellers in new
Europe. In the beginning of the 14th century in Paris the booksellers as
such separated from the Stationarii; but even they still gave oath to
the univesity and were subordinate to it. In the end of the 14th and the
beginning of the 15th century in the “Latin quarter” whole houses and
side-streets were inhabited by book-copiers, calligraphers,
book-binders, parchment-makers, paper-sellers. In 1403 text-writers in
London united into a special guild; the same thing happened in some
places in Holland as well.In the 15th century in Italy there were
book-sellers who kept a large number of scribes in their stores, so
they could publish books even before the invention of printing. At this
time in all big cities of Europe there were public libraries where books
could be taken home (libri vagantes), whereas other books, especially
valuable and voluminous ones were attached to writing-desks with iron
chains. Already in the 15th century almost everywhere there were
book-sellers and corporations of book-copiers who tried to satisfy the
needs not only of rich people, but of people with medium income as well.
The books sold were books of prayers, didactic and secular
(entertaining) books. But still, if a layman started reading or even
copying books at the the time, he did it basically not for his own
pleasure and not for education. He was most probably interested in the
matter of saving his soul.

The invention of printing considerably lowered the value of manuscripts;
but their production did not decrease immediately, as first printed
books were mere copies of contemporary manuscripts. Rich book-lovers of
the time could also prefer manuscripts which were usually made by famous
masters and richly decorated. Nevertheless, the calligraphers’ struggle
with the printing-press was hopeless: a new, powerful industry appeared
in the world.

It can be said that in 17th century the book became democratic. The
printing-press made it available and the demand made it interesting for
the mass buyer. In the 17th century the book penetrates all estates, it
becomes both interesting and instructive.

It is natural that in the 17th century because of the improvements in
printing business the production of books makes progress in quality,
cheapness and beauty. “…The book puts on a wig… and all runs in allegory
and conventionality.” (H. Bouchot. Le livre, l’illustration, la reliure.
Paris 1886).

One of the most important epochs in the development of printing was the
19th century. In the first quarter of the 19th a good book started to
bring good money to its author who started to get royalties not from
separate rich people or the government but from the buyers. Famous
writers become rich men and, provided the conditions are favourable even
a mediocre worker gets possibilities for comfortable existence thanks to
the book. It must be in the beginning of the 19th century when people
began to give the word “writer” the same meaning as we do now.

On the other hand, the profitable industry started bringing decent
income to publishers. Now the publishers think over the problem of
making a good book cheaper, so that every person could form a private
library without special expenditures.

Finally, in the 19th century the book becomes a powerful political

It may be said that for the first time the influence of the invention of
printing became obvious in Italy. The citizens of Italy in the 14th
century searched for, collected and copied ancient manuscripts with
great enthusiasm. This hobby must have spread from Italy to other
Western European countries. There is a well-known saying “An invention
is the child of necessity” and it was probably an unusual passion for
classical writers at the time which drove human thought to think out
mechanic ways of reproduction of works of fiction. Their wearing
copying by hands could not satisfy the risen needs. In 1500 printing
was practised already in 18 Western European countries, and in the
cultural world of the time there were up to 240 towns which had their
own printing-houses.

© 2011 Рефераты