ATG Book of the Week: Divine Art, Infernal Machine: The Reception of Printing in the West from First Impressions to the Sense of an Ending.

by | Jan 10, 2012 | 0 comments

Title: Divine Art, Infernal Machine:The Reception of Printing in the West from First Impressions to the Sense of an Ending

Author: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
ISBN:Cloth 2011, 978-0-8122-4280-5
Price: Cloth: $45.00s | £29.50
Imprint: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011, 384 pages


“In Divine Art, Infernal Machine, Eisenstein, author of the … The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, has written a … highly readable account of five centuries of ambivalent attitudes toward printing and printers. Once again, she makes a compelling case for the ways in which technological developments and cultural shifts are intimately related. Always keeping an eye on the present, she recalls how, in the nineteenth century, the steam press was seen both as a giant engine of progress and as signaling the end of a golden age. Predictions that the newspaper would supersede the book proved to be false, and Eisenstein is equally skeptical of pronouncements of the supersession of print by the digital.”

According to the Library Journal review Divine Art, Infernal Machine “not only makes for fine survey material for undergraduate mass media or cultural history classes but is recommended for all serious readers in media history and the history of cultural opinion and all concerned with placing today’s concerns over print vs. digital in their historical context.”

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