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Reviews 165 Gilmont, Jean-Francois, ed., The Reformation and the Book, English ed. and trans. Karin Maag (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History), Aldershot, Ashgate, 1998; cloth; pp. xxii, 498; R R P £75, AUS$203. La Reforme et le livre: L 'Europe de I 'imprime (1517-v. 1570) was first p in 1990. This, the English edition, translates the book's original introduction, conclusion, and the 10 (of 16) studies previously in other languages. This was well worthwhile, for linguistically the book is unusually inclusive. Contributors speak not only of the language regions (not always coinciding with the political boundaries) ofGermany (John L. Flood), France (Francis M . Higman), the L o w Countries (Andrew G. Johnston), England (David Loades), Spain (A. Gordon Kinder), and Italy (Ugo Rozzo and Silvana Seidel Menchi), but also of Hungary (Gedeon Borsa), Bohemia and Moravia (Mirjam Bohatcova), Poland (Alodia Kawecka-Gryczowa and Janusz Tazbir), Denmark and Norway (Anne Riising), and Sweden (Remi Kick). Further studies focus on the printing cities: Antwerp (Andrew G. Johnston and Jean-Francois Gilmont), Strasbourg (Miriam Usher Chrisman), and Basle (Peter G. Bietenholz). Such wide coverage of contemporaneous developments is illuminating even on a small scale. W h e n viewed carefully from two or more perspectives, just one person's inter-country movements can provide an explanation for otherwise little-understood distribution networks, and, in some instances, can show the many-sidedness, perhaps also the ideological commitment, ofthe career of a key individual in Reformation history. (See, for example, the references to Christiern Pederson in two essays, pp. 193-94 and 434-35.) Yet the juxtaposition of material from many linguistic entities leads also to larger revelations. In Bohemia, for example, printing of the Bible was an established activity from the fifteenth century, the various editions largely in Czech (p. 389); in Denmark, on the other hand, w e leam that the printing of the Bible in the vernacular had been a royally-instigated project (and the only printing within that country) completed before 1551 (p. 435). In his introduction editor Gilmont notes that the book seeks to move away from 'uncritical commonplaces' (p. 2) about the influence of printing on the Reformation, citing the several reservations about printing held by those who are more often seen as having been in total support (Luther, Foxe). H e rightly comments that it is 'no longer enough to build as precise a picture as possible of the body of work published in a certain period . . . one must also determine how this body was read' (p. 4). Gilmont stresses that the authors have agreed 166 Reviews that attention to book production and distribution conditions; to book content, authorship, and preferred genres; as well as to book reception (especially reading practices and target audiences) is now essential in assessing the impact of the printed book on the Reformation and vice versa. Wisely, he also notes the difficulties inherent in statistical tables (of book numbers, books as countable units, of printers with doubtful identities) appearing in several essays. His Chapter One provides thoughtful discussion of early printing conditions. The reader thus is well prepared for the diversity ofthe approaches, which stem from the availability (or want) of material on the core set of requirements, in following contributions. Francis Higman's splendidly rich chapter on the French-speaking regions, for example, forms a striking yet informative contrast to Gedeon Borsa's on Hungary as a country in whose Turkish-dominated territories (in the centre and the south) no printing is known during the period, though in Transylvania and the Habsburg regions (west and north), the story, as Borsa notes in revealing detail, was different. In every case the contributors' efforts to present and interpret as much material as possible are evident. Space is given, for instance, to the roles ofreligious refugees in Reformation publishing (as at pp. 94, or 271), as it is to the considerable business, often overlooked, of Reformation-related commissions made specifically by and for overseas markets, such as between England and France, or the L o w Countries (see Gilmont's comments at p. 202). Even so, there is surely more that should have been covered. The case of Scotland, for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 165-167
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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