About Jane Friedman

Web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. Former professor. Former publisher of Writer's Digest.

Public Notes


Recent Activity

  • Jane shared from The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
    During the nineteenth century, among many of the most sensitive artists and most gifted image makers, the effort to reconcile a commercial metier with the role of immortal was abandoned altogether. Earning daily bread was divorced from turning out a succès d’estime. Increasingly, the most strikingly ‘original’ and arresting images were shaped within secluded ivory towers for small groups of connoisseurs. Keeping faith with the muses was rewarded, often posthumously, by a place in the last chapter of a literary anthology. But the preservative powers of print also made this loftier ambition...
  • Jane shared from The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
    The need to make Renaissance bibliophiles and patrons into snobbish enemies of machine-made objects seems oddly compelling. Why else is the story so often told with no real hard evidence to support it and expanded to Florence with no supporting evidence at all? Actually, Florentine bibliophiles were sending to Rome for printed books as early as 1470. Under Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, the ducal library at Urbino acquired printed editions and (shamelessly or not) had them bound with the same magnificent covers as manuscripts. The same court also sponsored the establishment of an early press in 1482.20...
    Note: 15th c. book merchant selling manuscripts says printed books are shameful - to preserve business.
  • Jane shared from The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
    the Abbot of Sponheim not only exhorted his monks to copy books but enriched an ancient topos by explaining why ‘monks should not stop copying because of the invention of printing.’34 Among other arguments (the usefulness of keeping idle hands busy, encouraging diligence, devotion, knowledge of scripture, etc.) Trithemius somewhat illogically compared the written word on parchment which would last one thousand years with the printed word on paper which would have a shorter life-span.
    Note: Monks exhorted to keep copying despite invention of printing b/c parchment lasts longer. True story.
  • Jane shared from The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Volumes 1 and 2 in One) by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
    the Abbot of Sponheim not only exhorted his monks to copy books but enriched an ancient topos by explaining why ‘monks should not stop copying because of the invention of printing.’34 Among other arguments (the usefulness of keeping idle hands busy, encouraging diligence, devotion, knowledge of scripture, etc.) Trithemius somewhat illogically compared the written word on parchment which would last one thousand years with the printed word on paper which would have a shorter life-span.
    Note: Monks exhorted to keep copying despite invention of printing b/c parchment lasts longer. True story.
  • Jane shared from In My Own Way: An Autobiography by Alan Watts
    Generally speaking, the task of autobiography so embarrasses the writer that he must either boast or confess. Men of action and adventure tend to boast. Men of piety and intellect tend to confess,
    Note: "The task of the autobiography so embarrasses the writer that he must either boast or confess."
(Charlottesville, Virginia)
Jane Friedman