Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe (Hardback)Anthony Grafton (author)
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The author of The Footnote reflects on scribes, scholars, and the work of publishing during the golden age of the book.
From Francis Bacon to Barack Obama, thinkers and political leaders have denounced humanists as obsessively bookish and allergic to labor. In this celebration of bookmaking in all its messy and intricate detail, renowned historian Anthony Grafton invites us to see the scholars of early modern Europe as diligent workers. Meticulously illuminating the physical and mental labors that fostered the golden age of the book-the compiling of notebooks, copying and correction of texts and proofs, preparation of copy-he shows us how the exertions of scholars shaped influential books, treatises, and forgeries.
Inky Fingers ranges widely, tracing the transformation of humanistic approaches to texts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and examining the simultaneously sustaining and constraining effects of theological polemics on sixteenth-century scholars. Grafton draws new connections between humanistic traditions and intellectual innovations, textual learning and craft knowledge, manuscript and print.
Above all, Grafton makes clear that the nitty-gritty of bookmaking has had a profound impact on the history of ideas-that the life of the mind depends on the work of the hands.
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Number of pages: 392
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm
Grafton's sweeping erudition and meticulous scholarship are on display in Inky Fingers, which offers us a look over the shoulders of theologians and humanist scholars. His case studies illuminate how 'traditional' historical skills-the careful reading of texts, the deciphering of marginalia, and the tracing of arcane references-still hold countless possibilities for new readings and revelations. -- Daniel Jutte, author of The Strait Gate: Thresholds and Power in Western History
Inky Fingers directs our attention to the inky realities of book production and the messiness of everyday life. To erase urban contexts, correspondence networks, financial burdens, and other human factors from the early modern narrative, Grafton shows us, is to distort how new ideas-both famous and obscure-came into being. An excellent and thought-provoking book! -- Ada Palmer, author of Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance and the Terra Ignota series
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