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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

Stephen Fry and Johannes Gutenberg

Written on April 18, 2008

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Via Kottke this morning, I was able to watch this excellent documentary on Gutenberg’s press, produced and starring writer/actor Stephen Fry:

Stephen’s investigation combines historical detective work and a hands-on challenge. He travels to France and Germany on the trail of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press and early media entrepreneur. Along the way he discovers the lengths Gutenberg went to keep his project secret, explores the role of avaricious investors and unscrupulous competitors, and discovers why printing mattered so much in medieval Europe.

But to really understand the man and his machine, Stephen gets his hands dirty – assembling a team of craftsmen and helping them build a working replica of Gutenberg’s original press. He learns how to make paper the 15th-century way and works as an apprentice in a metal foundry in preparation for the experiment to put the replica press through its paces. Can Stephen’s modern-day team match the achievement of Gutenberg’s medieval craftsmen?

Part one above. See also: parts two, three, four, five, and six. Over sixty minutes, but highly recommended.

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One Comment

  1. Comment by xavier caballe:

    The video has been removed…. :(

    May 17, 2008 @ 7:40 pm