The Printed Book

by Harry G. Aldis, M.A. Cambridge at the University Press 1916

The Advent of Printing Part 4

He probably had little thought of the importance this date would possess in connexion with the new and wonderful art by which the text of his book had been produced. This book was, indeed, a copy of the first printed edition of the Bible, and the first large book to issue from the press. It bears neither printer's name nor date of printing; but Cremer's inscription in the Paris copy shews that it must have left the press before August 1456. This edition is known variously as the Mazarine Bible, from the copy which first attracted attention having been found in the library of Cardinal Mazarin ; or the Gutenberg Bible, on the assumption that it was printed by Gutenberg; but it is now more generally called the Forty-two line Bible, from the number of lines in a column of its page. Simultaneously with this, or shortly till the beginning of the sixteenth century.

afterwards, the printing of another Bible was begun, in a somewhat larger type. This is known as the Thirty-six line Bible. Neither of these editions bears any printed record of its origin, but it has been suggested that the Now in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. Forty-two line Bible came from the press of Fust and Schoeffer, while the Thirty-six line edition was the production of Gutenberg working alone. Two or three other books are also attributed to Gutenberg, though no book actually bears his name; but shortly after this time, perhaps tired out with the worries and vexations which dog the footsteps of the inventor, he gave up printing, and, becoming a pensioner of the Archbishop of Mainz, he disappears from the scene.

In 1457, Fust and Schoeffer, now working together, brought out the famous Psalter, the first printed book to contain the names of its printers and the date of printing. The execution of this beautiful book demonstrates that the printers had by this time attained considerable technical excellence. Their art had advanced beyond the experimental stage, and the business soon developed into a substantial commercial undertaking. The partnership lasted for another ten years, after which Schoeffer continued the press alone




Comments