The Printing Press and the Cultural Emancipation of Early-Modern Europe, 1450-1800

Topics: Printing press, Johannes Gutenberg, Literacy / Pages: 9 (2007 words) / Published: Dec 5th, 2010
The Printing Press and the Cultural Emancipation of Early-Modern Europe, 1450-1800

Merriam-Webster's English dictionary defines emancipation as the, "...[freedom] from restraint, control, or the power of another, and [freedom] from any controlling influence." The cultural emancipation that began in early-modern Europe prior to the Renaissance had a deep effect on the lives of its constituents. The printing press, invented in 1455 by Johannes Gutenberg, presented the public with a new forum for book production as the very first method of mass publication. Previously, should multiple copies be printed, each would have to be transcribed by hand, a task which would be both labour-intensive, and take place over a large stretch of time. Due to both of these factors, the cost of purchasing a manuscript was astronomical, and limited to the privileged few who pertained to the upper-class, possessing small fortunes which could be spent frivolously. Prior to Gutenberg’s revolutionary invention, individuals were taught by religious leaders and could seek no information on their own. The printing machine led to an increase in the number of books and decreased the price of them dramatically. There was a large demand for books but they were constructed very slowly by virtue of the fact that they were made by hand. The new efficient production method made the books accessible to common people for the first time. This accessibility quickly led to an increased number of literate and more educated individuals. These books became the wheel for the vehicle of cultural expression and emancipation from the choke hold of the church and state. The printing press has been the main influence on an information revolution that has created drastic change in the lives of all individuals involved. It has given people the opportunity to spread their opinions and read about those of others, changing the landscape of mass communication, which has acted as a catalyst to the introducing

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • The Impact of Printing Press in Europe
  • The Printing Press
  • Early Modern Europe
  • Printing Press
  • The Printing Press
  • The Printing Press
  • The Printing Press
  • Printing Press
  • The Printing Press
  • Printing press