Read an extract from The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree on Yale's blog" /> Read an extract from The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree on Yale's blog" />

The Book in the Renaissance Andrew Pettegree

Publication date:
15 Sep 2011
Yale University Press
440 pages: 235 x 156mm
69 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The dawn of print was a major turning point in the early modern world. It rescued ancient learning from obscurity, transformed knowledge of the natural and physical world, and brought the thrill of book ownership to the masses. But, as Andrew Pettegree reveals in this work of great historical merit, the story of the post-Gutenberg world was rather more complicated than we have often come to believe.

The Book in the Renaissance reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print, exploring the complex web of religious, economic and cultural concerns surrounding the printed word. From its very beginnings, the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives, as well as the very different requirements and constraints of the many countries who embraced it, and, as Pettegree argues, the process was far from a runaway success. More than ideas, the success or failure of books depended upon patrons and markets, precarious strategies and the thwarting of piracy, and the ebb and flow of popular demand. Owing to his expert and highly detailed research, Pettegree crafts an authoritative, lucid, and truly pioneering work of cultural history about a major development in the evolution of European society.


Read an extract from The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree on Yale's blog

Andrew Pettegree is Head of the School of History at the University of St. Andrews and founding director of the St. Andrews Reformation Studies Institute.

"It is more fun than a book on bibliography has any right to be: as well as emphasising what a cut-throat, pragmatic and disreputable business the early modern book trade was, it's a salient reminder of how little we really know about the subject." -Alec Ryie, Times Higher Education Supplement

"This is a book of remarkable scholarship, rich in detailed evidence... It is a book worth reading right through and then keeping for reference." -Revd Dr Raymond Chapman, Church Times

"Its cornucopia of information is well managed and engagingly written up."—Holly Kyte, Sunday Telegraph 'Seven'

"The great joy of The Book in the Renaissance is that it paints a vivid, often surprising portrait of the West's first ventures into the publishing industry... Pettegree writes with wit and fluency and he combines a broad, continent-girdling perspective with more focused analyses: a section on the role of print in the development of Lutheranism, for instance, is masterly. This book will make specialists prick up their ears but it also has huge appeal for the general reader."-Jonathon Wright, Catholic Herald 

"A lively work."—Christopher Hirst, The Independent

"Pettegree has written the perfect book for the bibliophile."—Alistair Mabbott, The Glasgow Herald