The age of print is a grand exception in history. For five centuries it fostered what some call print culture – a worldview shaped by the completeness, permanence, and authority of the printed word. As a technology, print at its birth was as disruptive as the digital migration of today. Now, as the internet ushers us past print culture, journalist Jeff Jarvis offers important lessons from the era we leave behind.
The Gutenberg Parenthesis traces the epoch of print from its fateful beginnings to our digital present – and draws out lessons for the age to come. It reveals how print gave rise to the idea of the mass – mass media, mass market, mass culture, mass politics, and so on – that came to dominate the public sphere.
Brimming with broad implications for today’s debates over communication, authorship, and ownership, Jarvis’ exploration of print on a grand scale is also a complex, compelling history of technology and power.