Write short notes to show what you know about:


Write short notes to show what you know about:

(a) The Gutenberg Press

(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book

(c) The Vernacular Press Act


(a) The Gutenberg Press: It was established by Johann Gutenberg. By 1448, he had perfected the system of printing with olive and wine presses, using contemporary technological innovations. The first book that he printed was the Bible, making 180 copies in 3 years. Although these books were printed, a unique touch remained in the handmade decorations of the front page, illuminated borders and purchaser-specified designs. The Gutenberg Press was the first-known printing press in the 1430s.

(b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book: He was critical of the print medium. He believed that though some books do provide worthwhile knowledge, others are simply a bane for scholarship. Erasmus accused printers of publishing books that were not mere trifling but “stupid, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious”. He also felt that large numbers of such books reduce the value of the quality writings.

(c) The Vernacular Press Act: Modelled on the Irish Press Laws, it was passed in 1878. This law gave the government tyrannical rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular press. If a seditious report was published and the newspaper did not heed to an initial warning, then the press was seized and the printing machinery confiscated. This was a complete violation of the freedom of expression.

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