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Gutenberg Biographie Recommendation. L. J. Coster Recommendation.

Hi. Can anyone recommend Gutenberg biographies that are well researched and worth reading? And does anyone know of any good and critical studies on Laurens Janszoon Coster? So far everything sounds like nationalistic mystification on the level of the Piltdown Man, politely called a legend. I would like to be able to say in a lecture to some students that there is some truth in it or simply call it a mystification.
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    Andreas StötznerAndreas Stötzner Posts: 773
    edited May 11
    I don’t know this book, but:
    “the Gutenberg revolution”
    “he aimed to make a fortune”
    “the beginning of the modern world”
    is neither critical nor historiographic, but fairly downright mystifying and hagiographic.
    The cover design of this edition speaks that very language: fast food for the simple mind.
    It may be nice reading, nevertheless.
    If one is interested in German works about the topic, I know of the concise and serious books by Helmut Presser (1967) and Albert Kapr (1977). There are other, more recent works, I’m pretty sure (but I’m not up-to date about this field of study).
    However, since Stephen Fry is credited on the cover of John Man’s book: his own remarkable program about Gutenberg’s legacy is well worth watching, at any rate.

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    k.l.k.l. Posts: 109
    edited May 11

    “he aimed to make a fortune” [...] is neither critical nor historiographic, but fairly downright mystifying and hagiographic.

    If one is interested in German works about the topic, I know of the concise and serious books by [...] Albert Kapr (1977).
    I suggest that, aside from merely looking at the pictures, you actually read the book.* ;-) With their various projects, Gutenberg and his various partners, some of whom acted as investors, of course seeked to make money. Kapr remarked on the early ‘Heilsspiegel’ project, ‘Wenn alles klappte, konnten sie über ein Jahr reiche Leute sein, denn jeder Heilsspiegel könnte einen halben Gulden gekostet haben’, which in Douglas Martin’s translation reads, ‘All [partners] stood to become rich men in a year’s time, if everything went to plan, for each mirror should sell for half a gulden’.† These were business men. (That none of the projects turned out to be as lucrative as the respective partners might have wished is another story.)

    * Ooops. I missed that you are referring to this tiny Insel-Verlag thing rather than to the later more elaborate version:

    † Albert Kapr: Johann Gutenberg. The Man and his Invention. Scholar Press (GB) & Ashgate Publishing Company (US), 1996.
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    edited May 12
    is neither critical nor historiographic, but fairly downright mystifying and hagiographic.
    The cover design of this edition speaks that very language: fast food for the simple mind.
    Hi, Andreas. While I can understand the reasons of your skepticism, I can tell you that I DID read the book, and that is why I am recommending it, even if the cover and the back cover copy is misleading—we agree on that.
    For what is worth, now that you mention the remarkable Stephen Fry’s program… well, John Man actually appears there—briefly, to be fair.



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    DominikaDominika Posts: 3
    Cristóbal Henestrosa Thank you. O ordered a different book about Gutenberg (I can read German), but I will give it a chance also. 

    I found the book of Antonius van der Linde (and Hessels) in Internet Archive luckily.
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