Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press

Another pointer for a BBC programme while it’s still available on iPlayer. The title’s a bit of a give-away, it’s all about the Gutenberg Press, and is presented by Stephen Fry; over the course of it, he and a team build a replica of the original press (probably), make the paper, and cast at least one of the letters of movable type. Wonderful stuff.

4 thoughts on “Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press

  1. Jon

    Good show and Stephen Fry is indeed, as you say on your sidebar, God. Shame it glossed over the whole “It was first invented by the Chinese” bit (although it never caught on because of the complex written language). And the bit about the “He must have been inspired by the grape presses” is really strange considering that the printing press had already been invented and was in common use, and a similar arrangement was used to make the paper on the show too, which they said was traditional so it’s more likely he saw what was in use for the various practices of the day. They seemed to want to move it away from the fact that it was Movable Type that was the big innovation and expand it a bit.

    In my defense for this comment I had to sit through a much longer version of that lecture from a rather expert friend of mine, I’m just sharing the love :)

    Interesting fact of the day: Stephen Fry has the best podcast ever.

  2. Zoso

    Fry’s podcast certainly is the best ever, EVAR and indeed EVAH, and the latest (Wallpaper) had a fairly apposite opening:

    There is almost no subject on which one can expatiate on which others don’t know a great deal more than one does oneself. And it is very humbling, or at least it ought to be, if I wasn’t so sunk and lost in self-regard, very humiliating, very sobering to realize that one doesn’t know nearly as much as one thinks one does. Every time I make a claim, you out there tested against your reason, your experience, and your knowledge. And if it’s found wanting you say so.

    There were a couple of bits in the Gutenberg documentary that went something along the lines of “… though not all experts are in agreement over this”, which I took to mean “… man, the 15th century printing press forums are going to go batshit over this (or at least start printing some very strongly worded historically accurate pamphlets)”

  3. Jon

    You have no idea how bad the flame wars are the 15th century printing press forums are. I had to stop reading them after a flare up over the type of wood used to make the press. They make the Eve alliance ones look friendly!

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