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Monday, August 14, 2006

The First Book Ever Printed...

No... not the book of the dead...

Rather, most probably a little something on astrology (aren't dime-a-dozen horrorscope authors proud...) penned by a well-known name today, for the whole endeavour spawned a LEGEND, nothing less!

8/14/1457 The first book ever printed was published by a German astrologer named Faust. He was thrown in jail while trying to sell books in Paris. Authorities concluded that all the identical books meant Faust had dealt with the devil.

There are several things to conclude from this bit of historical trivia, I do believe...
"Authorities", whatever time or era that they are ruling in, make oftentimes the most obtuse calls and know, all in all, not that much...
Printing owes something to astrology, I suppose...
And Faust might just have struck a deal, indeed - but not to print multiple copies of his hogwash, no! Overall, his true story is miles away from the tormented epics weaved by Marlowe, Goethe and others...

Still, the astrolger who wound up in jail in 1457 is not the assumed basis for the legendary tale - because the "Faust we know" and hopefully do not love at all "is widely assumed to be based on the figure of the German magician and alchemist Dr. Johann Georg Faust (approximately 1480–1540), a dubious magician and alchemist probably from Knittlingen, Württemberg, who obtained a degree in divinity from Heidelberg University in 1509."
Despite such a "degree" (entirely disputable too, I would say) he had garnered quite a bad reputation for being such a huckster and a scoundrel. He he was also in prison (what a surprise) and, while there, in exchange for wine he "offered to show a chaplain how to remove hair from his face without a razor; the chaplain provided the wine and Faustus provided the chaplain with a salve of arsenic, which removed not only the hair but the flesh."
It is no wonder that "the name of "Faust" has since become attached to any number of legendary tales about a charlatan alchemist (some claim "astrologer and necromancer"), whose pride, vanity, and vile hucksterism would inevitably lead to his doom"

Makes one wonder if book publishers today are all to be viewed as proud and vain hucksters and crooks too? Hmm... Food for thought! ;)

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