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162 the minnesota review any inkling ofwhat communism has meant in the real world, the horror and the crime ofit, makes the sudden appearance ofzealous anti-communists seem inexplicable, the working ofsome malign power" (p. 40). Conant quotes Diana Trilling to the effect that "so long as Communism and democracy live in the same world, they are bound to be at war with each other . . ."(p.41).The inference is that, had Guilbaut written a book to justify the manipulation ofthe arts in Cold War America, Conant would have been largely satisfied. 4 Eva Cockcroft, "Abstract Expressionism: Weapon ofthe Cold War," Artforum, June 1974, pp. 39-41 ; see also John Tagg, "American Power and American Painting: The Development of Vanguard Painting in the United States since 1945," Praxis, no. 2 ( 1976), pp. 59-79. Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin. The Coming ofthe Book: The Impact ofPrinting 14501800 . Verso Editions, 1984. 378 pages. $9.50 (paper). John O'Neill. Essaying Montaigne: A Study ofthe Renaissance Institution of Writing and Reading . London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982. 244 pages. $30 (cloth). It should not be surprising that the first printers, including Gutenberg, were moneyers and goldsmiths . Because they possessed the requisite skills in metal stamping, such men were the first to master the technical processes for producing moveable type. Yet the fact is suggestive, ifonly symbolically , ofthe long and complex relation between printing and capitalism, those roughly coeval developments which togethercan lay the greatest claim to having produced modem culture. Controversy overthe precise interrelations ofthe two, and overwhich, ifeither, can lay claim to theoretical or historical priority, was given fresh life by the publication in 1979 of Elizabeth Eisenstein's brilliant and polemical two volume work. The Printing Press as an Agentfor Change (Cambridge University Press). Thus it is timely that Verso Editions has issued a paperback edition of Lucien Febvre 's and Henri-Jean Martin's older study of early book production that laid much of the groundwork for Eisenstein's and all subsequent considerations ofprinted culture. Conceptually modest in comparison to later efforts, Febvre's and Martin's book is nevertheless extraordinarily wide-ranging. As they state in the preface, "we are hoping to prove that the printed book was one ofthe most effective means ofmastery over the whole world" (11). Whileconcentrating on Western European culture, they also provide briefer surveys of book production in Eastern Europe, the Middle and Far East, and North and South America. Besides the mandatory investigations ofthe humanist, Reformation and Enlightenment movements, they also glance at the influence ofprinting on colonialism and popular culture. No one will be shocked by the major themes ofthe book: that printing spread to meet the cultural demands ofa growing bourgeois class; that the market progressively eroded ecclesiastical, university , and state control over intellectual production; that by standardizing format and reducing costs, mechanical book production encouraged both the exchange and accumulation of knowledge. The virtue ofthis study consists not so much in drawing a radically new picture ofprinting as in filling in some valuable and provocative detail. For instance, the author's close examination ofthe finances of early printing, a profession which demanded a large capital outlay and produced slow and fitful returns, helps explain the subordination ofprinters to finance capitalists, who determined not only the manner of printing and distribution, but often the matter to be printed. The convergence of entrepreneurial and intellectual motives in the great humanist booksellers, men like Aldus, Robert Estienne, Vitré and Joost Bade, makes for interesting reading. Technical as well as economic considerations played a role in the development of printing, and implicated the growing bookmaking industry with such others as papermaking, metalworking, and even ragpicking (at one time a considerable business controlled by state-granted monopolies. Febvre and Martin examine both the technical preconditions forprinting and the technical organization ofbook production, which was one ofthe earliest trades tobe subjected to capitalist rationalization. The first compositors had to master "a type of manual rhythm {which} had not previously been required in the manufacturing process ofthe 15thcentury" (61), while pressmen worked for 12 to 16 hours a day and produced sheets at the incredible rate of one every twenty seconds. Because they were both...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 162-164
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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