The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe
Edition 2 Revised edition
OverviewWhat difference did printing make? Although the importance of the advent of printing for the Western world has long been recognized, it was Elizabeth Eisenstein, in her monumental, two-volume work, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, who provided the first full-scale treatment of the subject. This illustrated and abridged edition gives a stimulating survey of the communications revolution of the fifteenth century. After summarizing the initial changes introduce by the establishment of printing shops, it goes on to discuss how printing effected three major cultural movements: the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the rise of modern science. Specific examples show how the use of the new presses enabled churchmen, scholars, and craftsmen to move beyond the limits hand copying had imposed and thus to pose new challenges to traditional institutions. This new edition includes a new essay where Eisenstein discusses numerous recent controversies provoked by the first edition and reaffirms the thesis that the advent of printing entailed a communications revolution. Fully-illustrated and annotated, the book argues that the cumulative processes set in motion with the advent of printing are likely to persist despite the recent development of new communications technologies.