First Printed Books (Incunabula)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

Litencyc Editors (Independent Scholar - Europe)
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Technically an incunable (singular) is a book or broadsheet created with movable type set in moulds between the invention of printing by Johannes Gutenberg (See seperate entry) in 1450 and before January 1st 1501. The Latin term “incunabula” originally meant swaddling clothes – the cloth that babies were wrapped in – so the word came to refer to infancy, and by extension to the first printings of books and broadsheets. In order to equal the prestige of the expensive manuscript books which had been copied out by monks and scribes, incunabula tried to imitate hand-written books as closely as possible, often having highly ornamental initial letters for chapters.

104 words

Citation: Editors, Litencyc. "First Printed Books (Incunabula)". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 May 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=413, accessed 16 July 2024.]

413 First Printed Books (Incunabula) 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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