Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Print Culture and The Modern World

1. The First Printed book
Print tech. developed in China, Japan and Korea
Hand printing - Rubbing paper, against the inked surface of woodblocks
Accordian book - folded and stitched at side
Contribution of Chinese State in Promotion of Print
Personal of bureaucratic system recruited through examinations. Textbook for the examination was printed, as the number of candidates went up, increased the volume of print
By the 17th century, Print was used by scholar officials, merchants, reading became a leisure activity
Rich women began to read, began publishing their poetry and plays
Western printing techniques and Mechanical press were imported in the late 19th century
1.1 Print in Japan
Introduced by Buddhist missionaries
Oldest Japanese book - Buddhist Diamond Sutra, AD 768-770, Six sheets of woodcut illustrations
In late 18th Century, libraries & bookstores had printed material on various topics - women, musical instruments, calculations, tea ceremony, flower arrangements, proper etiquette, cooking and famous places

2. Print Comes to Europe
In 11th Century Chinese paper reached Europe
In 1295 Marco Polo brought woodblock printing to Europe
Luxury editions were handwritten on ‘vellum’
Rich people scoffed at printed books as cheap vulgarities
Booksellers began exporting books, book fairs were held, Scribes were employed by booksellers
Shortcomings of Manuscripts
Expensive, labourious and time consuming business
Fragile, awkward to handle, could not be carried around or read easily
First Printing Press
Johann Gutenberg of Strasbourg (Germany) knew the art of polishing stones, a master Goldsmith, had expertise to create lead moulds, used Olive Press to create first Printing Press in 1430’s
By 1448 Gutenberg printed his first book, the Bible, 180 copies in 3 years
First printed books closely resembled the written manuscripts, metal letters imitated the ornamental hand-written styles, Borders were illuminated by hand with foliage, illustrations were painted
By 1450 and 1550, printing press were set up in most countries of Europe.
The second half of the 15th century saw 20 million copies, went up to 200 million copies in 16th century

3. The Print Revolution & its Impact
Transferred the lives of people, changed  their relationship to information & knowledge, with institutions and authorities
3.1 A New Reading Public
“Access to books created a new culture of reading.”
“Due to print, the hearing public and reading public became intermingled.”
Earlier reading was restricted to elites, for common people knowledge was transformed orally
Books were expensive, not in sufficient numbers.
But now books can reach to a wider section thus gave birth to a reading public.
To attract the masses, publishers began publishing popular ballads, filktales and the books were illustrated with pictures.
Oral culture this entered print and printed material was orally transmitted.
3.2 Religious debate and the Fear of print
“Not everyone welcomed the printed books.”
People believed can lead to the fear of the spread of rebellious and irreligious thoughts
A threat to the authority of valuable literature
“Printing is the ultimate gift of the God and the greatest one”
In 1517, Martin Luther wrote Ninety-Five thesis criticizing rituals and practices of Roman Catholic Church and challenged Church to debate his ideas. His writings became immense popular, second edition appeared within three months. It lead to a division within the Church and to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Deeply grateful to the print, Luther said, ‘Print is the ultimate gift of the God and the Greatest one.’
3.3 Print and Dissent
Menocchio, a miller in Italy, reinterpreted the message of the Bible and formulated a view of God and creation that enraged the Roman Catholic Church. Menochhio was hauled up twice and ultimately executed.
Roman Church imposed sever control over publishers and booksellers and began to maintain an Index of Prohibited Books from 1558.

4. The Reading Mania
Booksellers employed pedlars who roamed around villages, carrying little books for sale
Almanacs or ritual calendars, along with ballads and folktales
In England, Penny chapbooks were carried by petty pedlars known as chapmen, and sold for a penny
In France were the ‘Biliotheque Bleue’ - low priced small books printed on poor quality paper and bound in cheap blue covers
Romances printed four to six pages, and the more substantial ‘histories’
Periodical press combining information about current affairs with entertainment, newspaper and journals
Ideas of scientists, philosophers and thinkers were widely published
4.1 Tremble, therefore, Tyrants of the World
People believed that book were a mean of spreading progress and enlightenment
Louis Sebestian Mercier declared -’The printing press is the most powerful engine of progress and public opinion is the force that will sweep despotism away.
Convinced of the power of print in bringing enlightenment and destroying the basis of despotism, Mercier proclaimed - ‘Tremble, therefore, tyrants of the world. Tremble before the virtual writer.’
4.2 Print, Culture and The French Revolution
Print popularized the ideas of the enlightenment thinkers. Their writings provided a critical commentary on tradition, superstition and despotism. Books saw the world through new eyes, eyes that questioning, critical and rational.
Print created a new culture of dialogue and debate. All values, norms and institutions were re-evaluated and discussed.
By the 1780’s there was an outpouring of literature that mocked the royalty and criticized their morality

5. The Nineteenth Century
5.1 Children, Women & Workers
Production of school textbooks became critical for the publishing industry. A children’s press, devoted to literature for children alone, was set up in France in 1857. Grimm Brothers in Germany published collection of stories in 1812
Penny Magazines were especially meant for women, manuals teaching proper behaviors and housekeeping.
Women wrote novels - Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, George Eliot etc. Defined a new type of woman : a person with will, strength of personality, determination and the power to think
In 19th century, lending libraries in England came up, workers also wrote political tracts and autobiographies in large numbers.
5.2 Further Innovations
By mid 19th Century - Richard M. Hoe  perfected the power driven cylindrical press
Late 19th century - offset press was developed, can print up to six colours at a time
by 20th century - Electrically operated presses accelerated printing operations
Method of feeding paper improved, quality of plates became better, automatic paper reels and photoelectric controls register were introduced.
New strategies to sell products
Serialized important novels
In 1920’s in England, popular works were sold in cheap series, the ‘Shelling series’
Dust cover or book jacket, a 20th century innovation
1930s publishers brought out cheap paperback editions.

6. India and The World of Print
6.1 Manuscripts before the Age of Print
Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, various vernacular language
on palm leaves or handmade paper
continued to be produced till well after the introduction of print, down to the late 19th century
Problems - expensive & fragile, to be handled carefully, could not be read easily, written in different styles
6.2 Print Comes to India
First came to Goa with Portuguese Missionaries in the mid 16th century
Contribution of British in promotion of Print
1780, James Augustus Hickey began to edit the Bengal Gazette. Published a lot of gossips about the company’s senior officials. Enraged by this Governor General Warren Hastings encouraged the officially sanctioned newspapers. By 18th century, a number of newspapers and journals appeared in print. First Indian Newspaper was weekly Bengal Gazette by Gangadhar Bhattacharya

7. Religious Reforms and Public Debates
A variety of new interpretations of the belief of different religions started a debate in public and in print
Ideas against prevailing social evils were printed in the everyday spoken languages
Raja RamMohan Roy published - Sambad Kaumudi (1821)
Hindu orthodoxy came up with ‘Samachar Chandrika’
from 1821, Persian Newspaper - Jam i Jahan Nama & Shamsul Akhbar
Gujarati Newspaper - Bombay Samachar
Islamic followers published Persian & Urdu translations of holy scriptures and printed newspapers and tracts. Published Fatwas telling muslims how to conduct themselves in their everyday lives and explaining the meaning of Islamic Doctrine
Among Hindus, first printed edition of Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas came out in 1810. From the 1880s, the Naval Kishor Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar Press in Bombay published numerous religious texts in vernaculars

8. New Forms of Publication
Novel - a literary firm which developed in Europe soon acquired distinctively Indian forms and styles
New Literary forms - lyrics, short stories, essays about social & political matters developed
Visual culture began shaping popular ideas about modernity and traditions, religion and politics and society and culture. Painters like Raja Ravi Verma produced images for mass circulation.
Caricature and cartoon were published
8.1 Women & Print
Women reading increased enormously in middle-class homes. Writings by women, why women should be educated, syllabus, suitable reading material were now available
Conservative people (both Hindu and Muslim) opposed women education
Girl in a conservative Muslim family of North India secretly learnt to read and write in Urdu.
Rashsundari Devi, learnt to read in the secrecy of her kitchen, wrote about her life - Amar Jiban (1876), first full-length autobiography published in the Bengali language
Kailashbashini Devi wrote books highlighting the experiences of women
In Maharashtra, Tarabai Shine and Pandita Ramabai wrote about the miserable lives of upper caste Hindu women, especially widows
A woman in a Tamil novel expressed what reading meant to woman who were so greatly confined by social regulations.
Early 20th century journals written for and sometimes edited by women became extremely popular
In Punjab, Ram Chaddha published Istri Dharam Vichar. Khalsa Tract Society published cheap booklets
In Bengal an entire area in central Calcutta - the Battala was devoted to the printing of popular books
8.2 Print and the Poor People
Cheap small books were brought and Public libraries were set up for workers
Jyotiba Phule wrote Gulamgiri (1871) B.R.Ambedkar in Maharashtra & E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker in
Madras wrote powerfully on caste and their writings were read by people all over India
Kashibaba wrote and published ‘Chote aur Bade ka sawal’ in 1938
Kanpur mill worker published ‘Sacchi Kavitayan’ under the name of ‘Sudarshan Chakra’

9. Print and Censorship
In 1820s Calcutta Supreme Court passed certain regulations to control press freedom
1835, Governor General Bentinck agreed to revise press laws
Thomas Macaulay, formulated new rules that restored the earlier freedoms
1878, Vernacular Press Act, provided the govt extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the Vernacular Press
Nationalist Newspapers grew in numbers in all parts of India, reported on colonial misrule and encouraged nationalist activities.

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