Summary: Eisenstein’s article explains the rise of print and its impact on society. The article starts with the problem of the decay of texts due to time. It goes on to discuss the difficulty of making handwritten copies. The article then goes on to discuss the arrival of print technology and how society changed when the output of literary material increased.

Interesting Points:

  1. “Printing did not speed up the adoption of new theories… or is it possible that an increase in the output of old texts contributed to the formulation of new theories?” pg. 42

I think this is important because Eisenstein is raising an interesting question of the correlation between the printing press and the increase in literacy. Personally, I think that there is a direct correlation between the two and I do not think as many people would be literate today without the increased availability in printed literature.

  1. “Of all the new features introduced by the duplicative powers of print, preservation is possibly the most important.” Pg. 78

I think this is an important excerpt because having numerous copies of texts ensures preservation. If some are destroyed, there are others that remain and new copies can be produced much more quickly than before when copies had to be handwritten.

  1. “The notion that valuable data could be preserved best by being made public rather than by being kept secret, ran counter to tradition.” Pg. 81

I believe that this is an important quote because I think that it shows an increase in literacy due to the printing press’s ability to increase availability. It is also important because it shows that more information is being spread while before, it was kept away from the public. With multiple copies of a text available instead of just one, it is very difficult to keep text away from those who are looking for it.

Confusing Aspects:

  1. “Nevertheless, scribal veneration for ancient learning lingered on long after the conditions that had fostered it had gone.” Pg. 88

I do not understand why people would continue to study old concepts that had been proven to be false already by more current research and developments. This article seems to focus mainly on the progress that print gave, but here there seems to be some sort of regression.

  1. “Increasing familiarity with regularly numbered pages, punctuation marks, section breaks, running heads, indexes, and so forth helped to reorder the thoughts of all

I feel like this is confusing because I do not see how this could change every reader’s thoughts or way in which they interpret the text. This also seems to stray away from the discussion of print as well because it seems to me to focus more on editing.

Question: Which has had a bigger impact on those who had it at the time, the introduction of printing, or the introduction of digital media?