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Editor: Lotte Hellinga
Since the appearance in 1908 of the first volume of BMC the work has been relied on as one of the main authorities on the earliest printing in Europe. Its coverage of early printing from the European countries in which the new technique was successively introduced provides not only extensive bibliographical descriptions, but introduces the material with an analysis of the development of printing in the relevant areas. This final volume to appear in the series covers England, where printing was not introduced until 1476, a good twenty years after the appearance of the earliest printed books in Mainz. The England volume of BMC responds to the special circumstances of early printing in England by giving particular attention to textual transmission, systematically following each text from source or copy to print whenever possible. Printing-house methods of book-production get full consideration. Notes on further dissemination are extended by an analysis of early ownership (and by implication of readership) taking account of material outside the British Library collection. This is followed by a history of the formation of the collection from 1753 in the British Museum, which began with the great collectors of the eighteenth century, and in which the antiquarian book-trade of this and later periods had an important role.
In view of the new focal points of interest the bibliographical descriptions are more elaborate than in the previous volumes, and include extensive notes on provenance and early readers which are the work of Margaret Nickson. A new forensic element is the systematic investigation of paper used by the printing houses until Caxton's death in 1492, when the nature of production changed. This was undertaken by Paul Needham, who contributes a separate introduction on the trade in paper and paper as evidence for dating and production processes. His investigation, together with the evidence of the use of printing types, underlies the new chronological arrangement which has to be the basis for any interpretation. The resulting chronological list of all printing in England before 1501 is presented in separate tables. The work includes descriptions of 323 copies of books, representing 221 editions of items printed in England, out of a total of 395 known to date, extensive introductions and 52 full-size plates accompanying the descriptions of printing types.
Author: Lotte Hellinga
After Gutenberg’s Bible had appeared in print in 1455, other early printers found different ways to solve problems set by the new technique. Survival of printer’s copy or proofs permits rare views of compositors and printers manipulating a text before it emerged in its new form. Versions were corrected to be fit for purpose, and might be adapted for a much enlarged readership, especially if the language was vernacular. The printing press itself required careful measuring and fitting of texts. In twelve case-studies Lotte Hellinga explores what is revealed in printer’s copy and proofs used in diverse printing houses, covering the period from 1459 to the 1490s, and ranging from Rome and Venice to Mainz and Westminster.

See also the companion volume by the same author, Incunabula in Transit (Brill, 2017).
Author: Lotte Hellinga
Almost half a million books printed in the fifteenth century survive in collections worldwide. In Incunabula in Transit Lotte Hellinga explores how and where they were first disseminated. Propelled by the novel need to market hundreds of books, early printers formed networks with colleagues, engaged agents and traded Latin books over long distances. They adapted presentation to suit the taste of distinct readerships, local and remote. Publishing in vernacular languages required typographical innovations, as the chapter on William Caxton’s Flanders enterprise demonstrates. Eighteenth-century collectors dislodged books from institutions where they had rested since the sales drives of early printers. Erudite and entertaining, Hellinga’s evidence-based approach, linked to historical context, deepens understanding of the trade in early printed books.
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
In: Incunabula in Transit
In: Incunabula in Transit
In: Incunabula in Transit
In: Incunabula in Transit