Elizabeth Eisenstein’s print revolution thesis has provoked substantial discussion since its appearance in 1979. Drawing on our class readings, discuss three or four criticisms of Eisenstein in the intervening years. You must include at least one critique based on European print culture, and one critique based on East Asian print culture. Conclude by offering your sense of the state of the field today.
Our session 4 readings offer detailed examinations of two non-elite readers: the Italian miller Menocchio, and the Chinese cobbler Qian Jinren. Menocchio was burned at the stake as a heretic as a result of his reading practices, while Qian Jinren received an honorable burial in a distinguished graveyard in his hometown of Suzhou as a result of his. Can we conclude from their fates that Early Modern Chinese print culture was more egalitarian and progressive than its European counterpart?