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从德国城市美因茨萌生的印刷

更新时间:2018-8-23 20:25:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How a German city changed how we read
从德国城市美因茨萌生的印刷

The German city of Mainz lies on the banks of the River Rhine. It is most notable for its wine, its cathedral and for being the home of Johannes Gutenberg, who introduced the printing press to Europe. Although these things may seem unconnected at first, here they overlap, merging and influencing one another.

德国的美因茨市(Mainz)位于莱茵河畔,因葡萄酒和大教堂而闻名。这里还是将印刷术传入欧洲的著名人物古腾堡(Johannes Gutenberg)的家乡。尽管乍一看这三者没什么关联,其实他们相互交集、相互融合、相互影响。

The three elements converge on market days, when local producers and winemakers sell their goods in the main square surrounding the sprawling St Martin's Cathedral. Diagonally opposite is the Gutenberg Museum, named after the city’s most famous inhabitant, who was born in Mainz around 1399 and died here 550 years ago in 1468.

有集市的日子,这三者便会交集。这一天,当地制造商和酿酒商会来到宏伟庞大的圣马丁大教堂的中心广场销售他们的产品。教堂斜对面是古腾堡博物馆,这个名字源于美因茨最著名的人物——古腾堡,1399年,他于此地出生,1468年,他在这里逝世。

It was Gutenberg who invented Europe’s first movable metal type printing press, which started the printing revolution and marks the turning point from medieval times to modernity in the Western world. Although the Chinese were using woodblock printing many centuries earlier, with a complete printed book, made in 868, found in a cave in north-west China, movable type printing never became very popular in the East due to the importance of calligraphy, the complexity of hand-written Chinese and the large number of characters. Gutenberg’s press, however, was well suited to the European writing system, and its development was heavily influenced by the area from which it came.

古腾堡发明了欧洲第一台铅板活字印刷机,印刷革命从此展开,这也是西方从中世纪向现代社会迈进的关键一步。虽然在古腾堡之前几百年,中国就有了木版印刷,在大西北一个洞穴里还发现过一本印制于公元868年的完整书籍,但因为书法地位之高、手写汉字之繁复、汉字数量之庞大,活字印刷术并未在东方流行开来。不过古腾堡的印刷术却很适合欧洲的书写体系,其发展还受到中国印刷术的深远影响。

In the Middle Ages, Mainz was one of the most important cathedral cities in the Holy Roman Empire, in which the Church and the archbishop of Mainz were the centre of influence and political power. Gutenberg, as an educated and entrepreneurial patrician, would have recognised the Church’s need to update the method of replicating manuscripts, which were hand-copied by monks. This was an incredibly slow and laborious process; one that could not keep up with the growing demand for books at the time. In his book, Revolutions in Communication: Media History from Gutenberg to the Digital Age, Dr Bill Kovarik, professor of communication at Radford University in the US state of Virginia, describes this capacity in terms of ‘monk power’, where ‘one monk’ equals a day’s work – about one page – for a manuscript copier. Gutenberg’s press amplified the power of a monk by 200 times.

在中世纪,美因茨是神圣罗马帝国最重要的教堂城市之一,其中美因茨教会和大主教更是站在权力之巅。古腾堡受过教育的企业主和贵族发觉教会想要革新复制手稿的方式。此前手稿都由修道士手抄,耗时长,工作量也大,也跟不上当时人们对书籍日益增长的需求。美国弗吉尼亚州雷德福大学传播学教授科瓦里克博士(Bill Kovarik)在其著作《通信革命:从古腾堡到数字时代的传媒史》(Revolutions in Communication: Media History from Gutenberg to the Digital Age)一书中,以"修道士能力"来衡量这种新生产力,对于抄书匠来说,一名"修道士"一天的工作量约等于抄写一页手稿。而古腾堡的印刷术把修道士能力扩展了200倍。

At the Gutenberg Museum, I watched a demonstration of a page being printed on a replica of the press. First, a metal alloy was heated and poured into a matrix (a mould used to cast a letter). Once the alloy cooled, the small metal letters were arranged into words and sentences in a form and inked. Finally, paper was placed on top of the form and a heavy plate was pressed upon it, similar to how a wine press works. This is no coincidence: Gutenberg’s printing press is thought to be a modification of the wine press. Since the Romans introduced winemaking to the region, the area around Mainz has been one of Germany’s main wine-producing areas, with famous grape varieties such as riesling, dornfelder and silvaner.

在古腾堡博物馆,我观看了这种印刷机的复制品是怎么工作的。首先,将金属合金加热后倒入提前刻好字母的模具。等到合金冷却后,小金属字母就被排成单词和句子再上墨。最后,在上面盖上纸,再压上一块重重的板,有点像葡萄榨汁机的原理。这并非巧合,古腾堡的印刷机应该是改装的葡萄榨汁机。自从罗马人将酿酒工艺引入到此处,美因茨一直是德国主要的葡萄酒产区,知名葡萄品种有雷司令、丹菲特和西万尼。

The page that is always printed at the Gutenberg Museum replicates the original style and font (Gothic Textura) of the 42-line Gutenberg Bible, the first major book ever to be printed using movable type in the Western world. It is the first page of St John’s Gospel, in the Bible, which begins: “In the beginning was the word…”

常年在古腾堡博物馆复制印刷的那张纸参照的是42行古腾堡圣经的版式和哥特字体,这本书是西方有史以来第一次使用活字印刷术印制的。这张纸是圣经《约翰福音》中的第一页,开头是:"太初有道……"

Writing is often considered the first communication revolution, while Gutenberg’s printing press brought with it the revolution of mass communication. After about 15 years of development – and huge capital investment – Gutenberg printed his first Bible in 1455.

我们通常将书写视作第一次通信革命,而古腾堡的印刷术带来了大众传播革命。经过15年的发展,以及巨额资金投入,1455年,古腾堡印刷了自己的第一本圣经。

“Gutenberg's Bible is an extraordinary work of craftsmanship,” said Dr Kovarik, who suggests we can read a strong religious motivation into the perfection of his work. “This wasn’t unusual at the time – for example, a stonemason would try to achieve a perfect sculpture in a remote corner of one of the great cathedrals, not really for the people who would be worshipping there, but rather as an expression of personal faith.”

科瓦里克博士说:"古腾堡圣经是非凡的艺术品",他说我们能从作品的完美无缺中感受到到一种强烈的宗教冲动,"这在当时并不罕见,就比如石匠,连大教堂偏远处的石雕也会尽善尽美地完成,不见得是为了那些来拜神的人,可能更是个人信仰的一种表达。"

Of his original print run of about 150 to 180 Bibles, only 48 remain in the world today. The Gutenberg Museum has two on display. Both are slightly different, because after printing, the pages would be taken to a rubricator (specialised scriber) who would paint in certain letters according to the tastes of their customers. Gutenberg’s Bibles turned out to be bestsellers.

古腾堡首次印刷的150到180本圣经中,如今还有48本存世,其中两本陈列在古腾堡博物馆。这两本稍有不同,因为印刷后会把纸张送到专业的调色师那里,根据客户的品味进行填色。当时古腾堡的圣经非常畅销。

At first, the Church welcomed the new availability of printed bibles and other religious texts. Printing enabled the Church to spread the Christian message and raise cash in the form of ‘indulgences’ – printed documents that forgave people’s sins. However, the disruptive power of the printed word soon became apparent. With the rapid spread of printing technology – by the 1470s, every European city had printing companies, and by the 1500s, an estimated four million books had been printed and sold — came the spread of new and often contradictory ideas, such as Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, in which he criticised the Church’s sale of indulgences. Luther is said to have nailed his text to a Wittenberg church door on 31 October 1517. Within a few years 300,000 copies of it had been printed and circulated, leading to the Reformation and a permanent split in the Church.

起初,教会很欢迎印刷的圣经以及其它的宗教文本,凭此教会宣传了基督教教义,还能通过"赎罪券"敛财。(赎罪券是一种印刷的单据,据说购买后人们的罪孽就能得到宽恕。)然而,印刷文字的破坏力量很快就显现出来。随着印刷技术的迅猛传播,到15世纪70年代,每个欧洲城市都有了印刷公司,到了16世纪,已有约400万本书印刷售出,传播了与教廷相悖的新思潮。比如马丁路德(Martin Luther)的《九十五条论纲》,文中他批判了教会出售赎罪券的做法。据说路德还在1517年10月31日将论纲钉在德国威腾伯格市一座教堂的大门上。几年内,30万份论纲印刷后流传出去,宗教改革开始,教会长期分裂。

But despite the far-reaching consequences of Gutenburg’s press, much about the man remains a mystery, buried deep beneath layers of Mainz history. A plaque marks the place where he was born on corner of Christofsstraße, but the original house is long gone. Today, a modern building stands there, occupied by a pharmacy.

尽管古腾堡的印刷带来了深远的影响,然而他本人仍然是个迷,深藏于美因茨重重历史之中。城里基督街(Christofsstraße)上一块牌匾标着他出生在街角的房子里,但老宅早已不复存在,今天一座现代建筑矗立在那,里面是一家药房。

Another plaque outside the nearby St Christoph’s Church marks the place where he was likely baptised. The church was bombed during World War II and remains in ruins as a war memorial, although the original baptismal font from Gutenberg’s time is still intact.

附近的克里斯托弗教堂外还有一块牌匾,写着这可能是他受洗的地方。二战期间教堂遭到轰炸,其废墟如今成了战争纪念馆,不过古腾堡时代的洗礼圣盆还是完好无损。

The graveyard where Gutenberg was buried has been paved over, and even though there are statues of him are everywhere in the city, we don’t know what he looked like. He is commonly depicted with a beard, but it is unlikely that he had one. Gutenberg was a patrician and during his time, according to my tour guide Johanna Hein, only pilgrims and Jews wore beards. In fact, the man we all know as Johannes Gutenberg was actually born Johannes Gensfleisch (which translates to ‘goose meat’). If it weren’t for the 14th-Century trend of people renaming themselves after their houses, we would perhaps be referring to his invention as the Gensfleisch Press today.

古腾堡的墓园里铺了地,尽管他的雕像满城都是,我们仍然不知道他长什么样。人们通常将其塑造为一个有胡子的人,但其实可能性不大。古腾堡是个贵族,按我的导游海因所言,那个时代只有清教徒和犹太人才蓄须。其实,古腾堡出生时叫简斯福莱希(Johannes Gensfleisch),德文中鹅肉的意思。若不是14世纪人们有按照寓所名字给自己重新起名的风俗,可能今天我们就要把他的发明称为简斯福莱希印刷法。

But although the traces of the man have all but disappeared from the city, his influence can still be seen everywhere: a poster advertising cosmetics; a woman reading a newspaper in a cafe; the menu on a restaurant table. Furthermore, our current communications revolution, made possible by the internet, digital technology and social media, is a progression of what started with Gutenberg.

如今,古腾堡生前的痕迹几乎从这座城市消弭了,然而他的影响力仍然无处不在:美妆广告的海报、咖啡馆里看报纸的女人、餐厅桌上的菜单。而且,我们如今凭借互联网、数字技术和社交媒体展开的通信革命,其进程也始于古腾堡印刷术。

“Every time the cost of media declines rapidly, you enable more people to speak out, and you have a greater diversity of voices,” said Dr Kovarik, explaining that this impacts the distribution of power in society, and sparks social change.

科瓦里克博士说:"每一次,媒体费用大幅度下降,就有更多的人能发声,也就能听到更多样化的声音。"他解释说,这影响了社会权力的分配,并引发了社会变革。

Paradoxically, however, our digital revolution can also be seen as a return to the pre-print era, according to a theory called The Gutenberg Parenthesis by Dr Thomas Pettitt, affiliate research professor at the University of Southern Denmark, who argues that there are parallels between the pre-print age and our own internet age.

不过矛盾的是,南丹麦大学的研究教授裴迪特博士(Thomas Pettitt)提出了"古腾堡括号"(Gutenberg Parenthesis)理论,他觉得数字革命会让我们回到印刷前的时代,因为当时和如今的互联网时代有很多相似之处。

“Print conferred stability on discourse; works in books were authorities; news in print was true. In the absence of print, news has lost its authenticity, and, as in the Middle Ages, is synonymous with rumour. We are now in a post-news phase, where purveyors of fake news can accuse the legitimate press of purveying fake news and get away with it,” Dr Pettitt said.

"印刷赋予话语稳定性,书中的文字总是很权威,印刷的文字可信度也高。如今文字不再印刷,新闻也不再真实可靠,就像在中世纪一样,总有这样那样的谣言。今天我们处于后新闻阶段,假新闻的散播者可以指控合法媒体提供了假素材,以此逃避责任。" 裴迪特博士说。

Whatever the impact of the 21st-Century digital revolution, just like the printing revolution before it, the effects will reverberate for hundreds of years to come.

无论21世纪的数字革命的效果是好是坏,正如此前的印刷革命一般,它带来的影响会在未来数百年中,久久回荡。

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