Printing Volti Chapter 11
Printing • Of all technologies, perhaps none have had the greatest impact as printing • The development of a written language is one of the hallmarks of civilization • Spoken language characteristic of all societies, yet not all have written language • Many cultures that have written language have only developed this recently often because of the influence of other societies (missionaries, etc.) • A written language is an essential technology - keeping accounts, recording history, transmission of ideas and culture "Much that red men know, they forget; they have no way to preserve it . White men make what they know fast on paper like catching a wild animal and taming it." Sequoyah
The Printing Revolution • Effects of written language were minimal when it was understood only by a few people • Before written language, humans developed astonishing memories to record events • Introduction of printing with moveable type - originated in the Orient • 4th Cent. A.D. - Chinese copying stone inscriptions with paper rubbings • 7th Cent. A.D. - Chinese used carved wood blocks • Printing moved much slower through Europe • 1400 - Italy: playing cards and pictures of saints made from wooden blocks • Johann Gutenberg - developed workable system of printing with separate pieces of type • Printing books required more advanced technology than just printing a single page • More advanced inks and binding methods emerged • Books printed from moveable type were harbingers to the age of mass production
Printing and the Expansion of Knowledge • Printing, in particular, books, did much to transform European society • Allowed for the transmission of ideas • Allowed for more accurate map making and navigation • Allowed for the advance of science - data could be recorded more accurately • Literacy spread
Printing and the Rise of Protestantism • The circulation of books allowed for people to collective challenge the dominant Catholic order • The Protestant Reformation resulted • The printed bible allowed worshipers to seek God’s word directly rather than through the Church which was the traditional intercessor • "God’s highest and extremest act of grace, whereby the business of the Gospel is driven forward" (Martin Luther on the invention of printing) • Catholic Church also used the printed word to transmit its message but not to the extent of the Protestant Church
Printing, Literacy, and Social Change • Protestants, motivated by biblical reading, became quite literate • The people, however, most driven to read were the clergy • Books still very expensive and somewhat rare • A more literate society could begin to ponder new ideas, especially those relating to social change • The relationship between printing and social change is reciprocal - one does not cause the other, but rather, both influence the other
Psychological Effects of Printing • Printing resulted in a greater sense of one’s separateness from the rest of society - reading is a solitary activity • Marshall McLuhan - Printed books fundamentally altered societies not solely from the ideas transmitted, but the medium itself altered the way we look at the world. Reading requires us to think in a sequential manner, just as a sentence is read from left to right.
Newspapers • For centuries, the book was the end product of the printing press • First newspaper appeared in the 17th century in Europe • First newspapers - poor type, hard to read, contained more sensational news than actual news • Again, one technology is often driven by the development of other technologies • Steam power... • steam ships and railroads... • transports report to various locations... • news is transmitted back through the use of telegraphs... • Newspapers gain relevance as worthy news becomes available.
Circulation Wars and The Shaping of Public Opinion • Mass production of newspapers made them more affordable • Newspaper readership increases as cost decreases • Newspapers become important vehicle for shaping public opinion • New York Journal (William Randolph Hearst) favored involvement in Spanish American War 1898 • Newspapers did not cause war, but sensational stories reported did not help avert war • Other factors contributing to the rise of newspaper readers: "Also, Urbanization and immigration produced large concentrations of population from which a mass readership could be drawn. Finally, a more democratic social order generated an environment in which the ‘common man’ gained in political and economic importance; as the first of the mass media, newspapers were a natural outgrowth of ‘mass society’"