In the nineteenth century people used to think of the invention of printing as the lynchpin in the history of civilisation. I’m not so sure. … Still, on balance I suppose that printing has done more good than harm….
—Kenneth Clark, Civilisation
What?? Clark’s comments about printing grabbed my attention when I watched his Civilisation series recently. It sounds as if he thinks civilization was coarsened/dumbed down with the spread of books and literacy. But he doesn’t elaborate. Can you think of another interpretation? Do you care?
As you know, I’m a book lover. So I think the printing press was one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind — whatever its effects on civilization.
How important are books to you? How have they affected your life? What are some of your favorites?