Record Details

Catalog Search

The bookseller of Florence : the story of the manuscripts that illuminated the Renaissance  Cover Image Book Book

The bookseller of Florence : the story of the manuscripts that illuminated the Renaissance / Ross King.

King, Ross, 1962- (author.).


"The Renaissance in Florence conjures images of beautiful frescoes and elegant buildings-the dazzling handiwork of the city's skilled artists and architects. But equally important for the centuries to follow were geniuses of a different sort: Florence's manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars, and booksellers, who blew the dust off a thousand years of history and, through the discovery and diffusion of ancient knowledge, imagined a new and enlightened world. At the heart of this activity, which bestselling author Ross King relates in his exhilarating new book, was a remarkable man: Vespasiano da Bisticci. Born in 1422, he became what a friend called "the king of the world's booksellers." At a time when all books were made by hand, over four decades Vespasiano produced and sold many hundreds of volumes from his bookshop, which also became a gathering spot for debate and discussion. Besides repositories of ancient wisdom by the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian, his books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the finest miniaturists. His clients included a roll-call of popes, kings, and princes across Europe who wished to burnish their reputations by founding magnificent libraries. Vespasiano reached the summit of his powers as Europe's most prolific merchant of knowledge when a new invention appeared: the printed book. By 1480, the king of the world's booksellers was swept away by this epic technological disruption, whereby cheaply produced books reached readers who never could have afforded one of Vespasiano's elegant manuscripts. A chronicle of intellectual ferment set against the dramatic political and religious turmoil of the era, Ross King's The Bookseller of Florence is also an ode to books and bookmaking that charts the world-changing shift from script to print through the life of an extraordinary man long lost to history-one of the true titans of the Renaissance"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780802158529
  • ISBN: 0802158528
  • Physical Description: 481 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2021.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
The street of the booksellers -- The pure radiance of the past -- Wondrous treasures -- Athens on the Arno -- Wise men from the East -- Vespasiano Mangiadore -- Antique letters -- Friends in high places -- The fall of Greece -- The miraculous man -- The decades of the king -- A destiny of dignity and excellence -- The spirit of Plato -- Uomini da Bene e Letterati -- Hermes the Thrice-Greatest -- A divine way of writing -- The finest library since antiquity -- The second coming -- Florentinis Ingeniis nil Ardui est -- For the advantage of all scholars -- Apud Sanctum Iacobum de Ripoli -- A reversal of fortune -- How the might are fallen -- The land of oblivion -- Lament for Otranto -- Pardon and deliver us -- The grand conjunction -- Epilogue : Chasing away the darkness.
Subject: Vespasiano, da Bisticci, 1421-1498.
Booksellers and bookselling > Italy > Florence > Biography.
Booksellers and bookselling > Italy > Florence > History > To 1500.
Publishers and publishing > Italy > Florence > History > To 1500.
Printing > History > Origin and antecedents.
Manuscripts, Renaissance > Italy > Florence.
Florence (Italy) > Intellectual life > To 1500.
Florence (Italy) > History > 1421-1737.
Vespasiano, da Bisticci, 1421-1498.
Booksellers and bookselling.
Early printed books.
Illumination of books and manuscripts.
Italy > Florence.
Genre: Biography.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 381.45 KIN (Text) 000161012 Nonfiction Available -

Additional Resources