Ross King on The Bookseller of Florence
With his new, historical biography, Ross King brings to life, Vespasiano da Bisticci, the “king of the world’s booksellers” in 15th century Florence. His books were “works of art” copied by scribes, his clients included popes, kings and princes from all across Europe…Each vying to create the most magnificent libraries. On this episode of The Literary Life, Ross King and Mitchell Kaplan talk about a time when books were considered essential to a meaningful life and how Vespasiano, The Bookseller of Florence, might have been the first independent bookstore owner.
About the Book:
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 thrilling chronicle of intellectual ferment set against the dramatic political and religious turmoil of the era, Ross King’s brilliant 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.
Subscribe to The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan