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The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) Paperback – March 4, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0521299558 ISBN-10: 0521299551

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Frequently Bought Together

The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) + The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Canto Classics) + The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800 (Verso World History Series)
Price for all three: $109.10

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Product Details

  • Series: Volumes 1 and 2 in One
  • Paperback: 820 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 4, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521299551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521299558
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'For fifteen years we have been waiting for a deep level-headed examination of the ways in which print transformed Europe. Elizabeth Eisenstein has written that book ... Eisenstein has an intimate familiarity with the great narrative of modern history since the 15th century. She boasts an unsurpassed feeling for the strengths and weaknesses of the ways in which historians have explained great changes. No mania to find laws or principles of universal validity drives her. She is not afraid of detail. Her eye for the telling oddity, the crucial contradiction, in enviable.' Commonweal

'This is a good and important book ... the author's clear and forceful style makes it a pleasure to read ... Eisenstein is particularly illuminating and discriminating on the part played by the great sixteenth-century scholar-printers, such as the Estiennes, Oporinus, Plantin, in the emergence of ideals of religious tolerance and intellectual brotherhood ... She does give us a remarkably complete and highly critical survey of modern historical writing on humanism, the Reformation and science up to the eighteenth century.' The New York Review of Books

'Her two volumes represent an extensive survey of the recent literature on the three intellectual and social movements of the period 1400-1700: the Italian Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. Ms. Eisenstein examines the major hypotheses as to their causes and progress, and reassesses them in terms of the impact of printing and its products.' The New Republic

Book Description

The first fully-documented historical analysis of the impact of the invention of printing upon European culture, and its importance as an agent of religious, political, social, scientific, and intellectual change.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ari Davidow on March 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
We have come to forget that the introduction of the printing press by Gutenberg mattered, or we have come to assume that it directly led to the Protestant Reformation. Eisenstein wondered how true that was, and what other changes the press wrought in European society in the couple of hundred years after the press was introduced. Start with the concept of authorship--once books could be reproduced in quantity, authorship mattered. Then consider the question of alphabetization and indexing. Then think of what happens when travel writers describe native dress--people start believing the books and variations become more extreme to meet the printed word. That's just the beginning. Eisenstein's book is not just an incredible work, well written, about the effect on our culture of the printing press. It is also the sort of book that makes one realize how unimaginable and vast the influence of any invention can have on a society. This book is critical for media studies, history, printing, typography, just to better understand our own society, or for the pleasure of a good, thorough, read.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kaitin D. Sherwood on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a great book! It gave me a real appreciation for how foreign the medieval way of thought is from current -- because of the printing press. If you've read Walter Ong's _Orality and Literacy_, this is similarly mind-blowing.
I will caution, however, that this is a very academic book. She spends a fair amount of time refuting people who disagreed with her. It is also designed for historians. I'm no dummy, but some stuff went over my head. (If you know the following phrases and people, you'll be fine: Plutarch, incunabula, Tridentine, Rabelais, Marlowe, the _Digest_, Cujas.)
I gave it five stars because it was definitely worth slogging through, but I wish I had gotten the abridged version instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr Anup K Das on September 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
In book "The Printing Press as an Agent of Change" author Elizabeth L. Eisenstein narrates theoretical and practical dimensions of communications and cultural transformations in early-modern Europe. This book is divided into three parts: (p.1) Introduction to an elusive transformation, (p.2) Classical and Christian traditions reoriented; Renaissance and reformation reappraised, (p.3) The book of nature transformed. This book contains specific chapters on aspects of history of printing technologies in early-modern Europe. Printing presses helped the European Christian missionaries to spread Christianity, biblical thoughts and philosophies in continents across Asia, Africa and Latin America. This book also narrates anecdotes of formation of scientific societies and royal academies across the European countries for strengthening scientific research.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nemesis on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
No, Dr. E did not write in this book about the Internet at all but at least in pages 65-110, you can see the parallels. There is plenty here to chew on and yes, having both volumes together is a whopper but this is at the bare minimum a TOP 10 book for everyone in the Western world because it gets right to the heart of this reality we call "economics".

Excellent history and philosophy reading when you look at it from the right angle. It ranks up there with Drahos - Philosophy of IP, Kuhn's, Sorensen's thought experiments, Thoreau's selected journals, Dewey's how we think and Einstein's ideas and opinions.
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