Re: It's all Gutenberg's fault... :-)

Subject: Re: It's all Gutenberg's fault... :-)
From: Peter Gold <pgold -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 13:14:16 -0700

[snipping to save bandwidth]

I recall learning in an English class that early illustrated
mass-published books had a couple of interesting issues attached.

Religious books, heretofore handmade and therefore too expensive for the
rabble, were now widely affordable, but creating the illustrations was
still a labor-intensive proposition, so to save labor and cost, the faces
of the saints, gods, etc., were carved on the ends of dowels that were
interchangeable, like the type. So, the same general scene of holypersons
in a book for one religious group, or nationality, or ethnicity, would
have appropriate facial features for its audience. Is this modular, or what?
Of course, the texts were changed to suit, as well.

Another interesting issue arose in publishing guidebooks for travelling
naturalists. Before woodcuts were invented, illustrations in printed
books (duplicated by scribes or by presses and type) were handmade copies
of some original or copy. Generation by generation, the variations
introduced soon made illustrations of flora and fauna became completely
unrelated to the facts they were intended to report, and experienced
readers learned to demand and rely on detailed written observations.

__________________peter gold pgold -at- netcom -dot- com__________________
"We shape our tools; thereafter, our tools shape us.
We ape our tools; thereafter, our tools ape us."
________...Marshall McLuhan, based on Ted Carpenter's idea_____

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