From Manuscript to Print: the Evolution of the Medieval Book


15th Century
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Localizing the text in this example is easy, because it is written in the Tuscan vernacular. Petrarch, known as the Father of the Italian Renaissance, reacted strongly against the "dark age" that followed the fall of Rome. He regarded its culture as decadent, and disparaged its script as the legacy of the Germanic barbarians who destroyed classical civilization. The humanists who followed Petrarch’s example likewise rejected the affected quality of Gothic bookhands; in striving for a more natural style, they imitated the exemplars of late Caroline minuscule. In doing so, they mistakenly believed they were imitating the script that the ancient Romans themselves had employed. Instead, they were actually using an improvement devised by the very culture they disdained.

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Petrarch. Canzoniere, Trionfi. Italy, final third of the 15th century.
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continue to Leather and Chains

the Sacred Word
Private Prayer
Leather and Chains
Medieval Music
How the Classics Survived
Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Evolution of the Book
Appetite for Destruction
Manuscript Facsimiles
Cornell's Medieval Books
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