The Italian Printing and the Mind of Man
Fabrizio Govi, I classici che hanno fatto l’Italia
In 1967 John Carter and Percy H. Muir published their famous “Printing and the Mind of Man” - “a descriptive catalogue illustrating the impact of print on the evolution of Western civilization during five centuries”. This book-length edition of a catalogue of an exhibition held in London in 1963 presenting copies from private libraries and collectors like Ian Fleming outlines the fields of human knowledge in more than four hundred printed works from Gutenberg’s Bible to Albert Einstein’s theories. PMM is a standard bibliography for book dealers and collectors, it’s a cultural history seen through the most important books ever printed. No other work shows better the significant impact of “the book” on the history of mankind.
In 2010 Fabrizio Govi has published a work very similar to the PMM: “I classici che hanno fatto l’Italia" proposes an ideal library of Italian authors from the Quattrocento to the present. These “classics that have made Italy” are a representative selection of Italian books - absolute masterworks, pioneering works in all fields, bestsellers of their times. The publishing history of each text gives information about the reception and the spread of a work after its publication (e.g. number of copies, reprints, pirated editions, privileges). It helps to understand the relationships between press and readers, putting in evidence that printing has influenced the very way we write and read. Every book presents itself to the reader as an object appealing to both the eye and the mind by carefully conceived editorial strategies like size, printing types, illustrations, and dedications.
“I classici che hanno fatto l’Italia” mentions 400 works in chronological order. For every selected item a representative edition has been chosen, generally the first but in some cases other important editions are added. Every entry describes the historical and cultural significance of a book, its peculiarity and background. It gives a biographical sketch of its author and all bibliographical details (size, collation, variant issues etc.). With this Fabrizio Govi has created more than an ideal library of Italian authors: He has written “The Italian Printing and the Mind of Man” which illustrates the cultural history of Italy (and Europe) on a wide scholarly background. A magnificent book for bibliophiles and booksellers and for everyone who is curious to see the world through the eyes of a book and its history. A true gem of bibliography.
“I classici che hanno fatto l’Italia” contains an essay by Giovanni Ragone, "Dal canone al mainstream, la nostra memoria attroverso i libri" (From canon to mainstream, our memory through books) and a note by former ALAI President Umberto Pregliasco on the role of the antiquarian book dealer and collecting in general.
Fabrizio Govi, I classici che hanno fatto l’Italia. Per un nuovo canone bio-bibliografico degli autori italiani. With an introduction by Giovanni Ragone and a note Umberto Pregliasco. Modena, Giorgio Regnani Editore, 2010. XXXV, 415 pp. With 12 tables and numerous illustrations. Size: 29,6 x 21 cm.
Orders at Libreria Alberto Govi at the price of 85,00 $ or 65 € (+ shipment).
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