The leading historians who are the authors of this work offer a highly original account of one of the most important transformations in Western culture: the change brought about by the discovery and development of printing in Europe. Focusing primarily on printed matter other than books, The Culture of Print emphasizes the specific and local contexts in which printed materials, such as broadsheets, flysheets, and posters, were used in modern Europe. The authors show that festive, ritual, cultic, civic, and pedagogic uses of print were social activities that involved deciphering texts in a collective way, with those who knew how to read leading those who did not. Only gradually did these collective forms of appropriation give way to a practice of reading--privately, silently, using the eyes alone--that has become common today. This wide-ranging work opens up new historical and methodological perspectives and will become a focal point of debate for historians and sociologists interested in the cultural transformations that accompanied the rise of modern societies.
Originally published in 1989.
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