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Reviewed by:
  • Archäologie des gedruckten Buches
  • John L. Flood (bio)
Archäologie des gedruckten Buches. By Martin Boghardt. Ed. by Paul Needham in collaboration with Julie Boghardt. (Wolfenbütteler Schriften zur Geschichte des Buchwesens, 42.) Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 2008. 536 pp. €98. ISBN 978 3 447 05774 5.

This handsome and, in every sense, weighty volume brings together twenty essays by Martin Boghardt (1936-1998), the distinguished German bibliographer who spent most of his professional life at the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel, where he did a great deal to introduce his compatriots to 'Anglo-Saxon', or Anglo-American, approaches to bibliography. His work has several times featured in the pages of this journal, two important articles by him, 'Partial Duplicate Setting: Means of Rationalization or Complicating Factor in Textual Transmission?' and 'Pinholes in Large-Format Incunabula', appearing in The Library, vi, 15 (1993), 306-31, and vii, 1 (2000), 263-89, respectively. Furthermore, his remarkably succinct Analytische Druckforschung. Ein methodischer Beitrag zu Buchkunde und Textkritik (Hamburg, 1977), a classic work worthy to stand beside the well-known [End Page 213] handbooks of McKerrow and Gaskell, was reviewed in The Library, v, 33 (1978), 246-48. His studies for Die zeitgenössischen Drucke von Klopstocks Werken (Berlin and New York, 1981), reviewed in The Library, vi, 4 (1982), 450-53, brought truly original insights into the bibliography of the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1802), while his extensive series of facsimiles of German printers' manuals, reviewed in The Library, vi, 10 (1988), 358-62, enormously enriched our knowledge of Continental printing-shop practice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The volume opens with Paul Needham's excellent, detailed assessment (in English, with a German translation by Monika Estermann) of Boghardt's very considerable achievement as an analytical bibliographer and incunabulist. (This memoir has also been published in a slightly revised version in Studies in Bibliography, 57 (2005-06), 39-62.) The essays themselves, all of which are presented here in their definitive German versions though some had been previously published in English, French, or Italian, are arranged in five sections, the first of which, on printing as a process, consists of a single - but important - paper, 'Der Buchdruck und das Prinzip des typographischen Kreislaufs', incorporating the author's own revisions of an essay first published in the Wolfenbüttel exhibition catalogue Gutenberg. 550 Jahre Buchdruck in Europa of 1990. Boghardt's concept of printing as a cyclical process underlies much of his work, hence it is entirely appropriate that this essay should stand in prominent position at the beginning of the volume. The second section comprises five essays dealing broadly with variant states of printed books, with examples drawn particularly from eighteenth-century Germany and reflecting Boghardt's pioneering research on eighteenth-century printing using the Hinman collator and, later, other technological aids. The third section embraces six papers showing how various texts, such as Duke Anton Ulrich's massive and ungainly novel Die Römische Octavia (1677-1714) and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's famous play Minna von Barnhelm, were transformed into printed books. The fourth group, of three essays, focuses on the relative chronology of early editions of two major works of German eighteenth-century literature, Klopstock's Der Messias and Goethe's Faust: ein Fragment of 1790. The final section brings together five essays devoted to two notable early Mainz incunabula, Fust and Schöffer's 1459 Psalter and the challenging enigma of the Catholicon edition dated '1460'. The book concludes with a fully comprehensive bibliography of Boghardt's writings (with notes on their influence and reaction to them) and an index of the books analysed in his essays.

Martin Boghardt was a meticulous, erudite, and deep-thinking scholar, a perfectionist who published only when he had something really worthwhile to say. Even then he was always at pains to refine and improve his findings, and his widow, Dr Julie Boghardt, has spared no effort to track down her husband's very latest jottings, corrections, and amendments and to incorporate them in the versions of the essays published here. The large format of this volume makes it possible for the many illustrations (some in colour), diagrams, and...


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