Humanism

The rapid spread of printing presses in Europe after 1455 brought on a euphoric rush of intellectual freedom and creativity.  This period remains the core of Rare Book Studio, and its center-of-gravity.  We admire the curiosity that inspired people to start reading Church-forbidden texts that had been locked away for being dangerous.

Suddenly pre-Christian writers show up in print, and scholars compete to produce the most accurate and exact texts.  Experimental science begins when Galileo builds a telescope and looks at the moon and the rings of Saturn. 

Rodger Friedman Rare Book Studio

On a different track, Petrarch—like Bob Dylan—mines folk music styles and overlays them with sophisticated verses, producing generations of imitators of both genders writing poetry in intricate sonnet cycles. 

The big publishing houses hired scholars-in-residence to write, edit, and direct the forward motion of the intellectual endeavor of the Renaissance. 

Of course, the whole thing dissolves into gruesome wars of religion and the unforgiveable cruelty of colonial expansion and slavery.  But for a moment there, the foundations of secular thinking and curiosity were laid down and allowed to flourish. 

Our current catalogue features some of the brightest stars of the period: Galileo, Francis Bacon, Gaspara Stampa, Desiderius Erasmus.  And as the scholars before us did, we try to seek out the forgotten and the undiscovered, including the polymath Ortensio Lando, his contemporary Sebastiano Fausto, and their peers Anton Francesco Doni and Pietro Aretino.  We can’t always guarantee a large catalogue of Humanist authors, but it will always be the heart of our matter. 

Menu