Cover image for Johann Gutenberg : the man and his invention
Johann Gutenberg : the man and his invention
Kapr, Albert.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Johannes Gutenberg. English
Publication Information:
Aldershot, England ; Brookfield, Vt. : Scolar Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
317 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z126.Z7 K2813 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Although Johann Gutenberg's seminal invention of printing from movable metal type is well documented, very little is known about the man himself. This fascinating and scholarly biography brings together a vast and widely dispersed literature to produce a revealing account of Gutenberg the individual. The portrait is based on original documents and references, the majority of which are reproduced in this text. The book considers the different aspects of Gutenberg's life - inventor, technologist and artist - and his personality and achievements within a wide cultural and historical context. This is the first modern biography of Gutenberg to appear in English, and Albert Kapr revised and updated his text (originally published in 1986, second edition 1988) especially for this translation.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Martin indicates in his "Translator's Introduction" that "There is no good biography of Gutenberg in English"--just many "significant contributions" to the English-language world's understanding of Gutenberg's "personality and achievement." He offers Kapr's biography, published as Johannes Gutenberg: Personlichkeit und Leistung (Leipzig, 1986; 2nd ed., 1988), as "by far the most suitable biography" to bring out in English, meanwhile acknowledging that the standard biography remains Aloys Ruppel's Johannes Gutenberg: Sein Leben und sein Werk (3rd ed., Nieuwkoop, 1967). Since Kapr is most widely known for his Art of Lettering (1983) and many other works on typography, it is not surprising that the factual information in this biography, which is as much about Gutenberg's age as about the man, relies largely on Ruppel and other earlier biographies. Its main contribution is reinterpretation from Kapr's calligraphic and typographic perspective--making matrixes, casting type, dabbing printing ink, and designing pages according to "the golden mean." Although Kapr's biography in German might in fact be "a lively account accessible to the general reader," Martin's rather stiff translation reads like a scholarly work of technical interest to analytical bibliographers. General readers should continue to prefer Victor Scholderer's slim Johann Gutenberg: The Inventor of Printing (2nd ed. rev., London, 1970) and Janet Ing's Johann Gutenberg and His Bible: A Historical Study (1988). Kapr's biography is most appropriate for research libraries. J. K. Bracken Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
Introduction to the First German Edition
Gutenberg's Origins, Birth and Early Years
1429-1434 Years of Apprenticeship and Travel? Gutenberg in Strasbourg
Printing Parallels
The Technical Problems of the Invention
The Return to Mainz
The 'Works of the Books'
Unequal Competition
The Mainz Archbishops' War
Memento Mori
Eternal Fame