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Private lives of print: The use and abuse of books 1450-1550

decoration01 Oct. 2014|11 Apr. 2015

Johann Gutenberg's invention of printing with movable type around the year 1450 was a seismic event, heralding a revolution in communication akin to the birth of the internet. It led to the slow but inevitable decline of the manuscript as the primary means of transmission. The impact of this revolution can best be understood by looking at the traces it left within the books themselves. The exhibition at Cambridge University Library provides rare and unexpected insights into the ways early books were used and abused by their owners in the first hundred years after Gutenberg's invention by looking at annotations, provenance, bindings and decoration and thereby revealing the private lives of both printed books and their owners.

Based on a five-year project to catalogue the library's world-class collection of incunabula and books printed before 1501.

Curator Ed Potten and rare books specialist Laura Nuvoloni discuss the exhibition and some very special features of the Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible on YouTube.

>>> Click here for the video


01 Oct. 2014|11 Apr. 2015
West Road CB3 9DR
Cambridge University Library
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