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Book Production As A Mirror Of The Emerging Medieval Knowledge Economy, 500-1500

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the written word, more specifically the manuscript and the printed book, as the carrier of knowledge, and at the rise of human capital that can be gauged from a study of the development of book production and consumption. To provide quantitative measures of how quickly the knowledge base in Western Europe expanded in these centuries, the chapter concentrates on estimates of the increase in the number of manuscripts and printed books produced in Western Europe in the course of the millennium between 500 and 1500. The chapter shows how dramatic the increase in book production was, where it was concentrated, and most importantly, what drove the process.

Keywords: book production; European knowledge economy; human capital formation; late Medieval period



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