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Two contemporary accounts of Martin Luther

This book presents a contemporary, eyewitness account of the life of Martin Luther translated into English. Johannes Cochlaeus (1479–1552) was present in the great hall at the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521 when Luther made his famous declaration before Emperor Charles V: ‘Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen’. Afterward, Cochlaeus sought Luther out, met him at his inn, and privately debated with him. Luther wrote of Cochlaeus, ‘may God long preserve this most pious man, born to guard and teach the Gospel of His church, together with His word, Amen’. However, the confrontation left Cochlaeus convinced that Luther was an impious and malevolent man. Over the next twnety-five years, Cochlaeus barely escaped the Peasant's War with his life. He debated with Melanchthon and the reformers of Augsburg. It was Cochlaeus who conducted the authorities to the clandestine printing press in Cologne, where William Tyndale was preparing the first English translation of the New Testament (1525). For an eyewitness account of the Reformation—and the beginnings of the Catholic Counter-Reformation—no other historical document matches the first-hand experience of Cochlaeus. After Luther's death, it was rumoured that demons seized the reformer on his death-bed and dragged him off to Hell. In response to these rumours, Luther's friend and colleague Philip Melanchthon wrote and published a brief encomium of the reformer in 1548. Cochlaeus consequently completed and published his monumental life of Luther in 1549.

model of humanitarian innovation: a fatal flaw which has hobbled it from the beginning and will continue to hobble it in future. Innovations are often presented as ‘game-changing’, but most innovations do not change the rules of the game; they only give a competitive advantage within the existing rules, which are shaped over long periods of time and are very rarely overturned by a single discovery. Innovations which do change the rules of the game – such as double-entry bookkeeping or the printing press – are

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book

the spectre of his or his work’s flaws in order to elicit a kinder reception by readers.2 It is a trope used by two of the three most influential poets of late-medieval England, Geoffrey Chaucer and his successor John Lydgate, and is turned to repeatedly by the merchant and translator who first introduced the printing press to England, William Caxton. In the hands of all three, and in its use by scores of other writers from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, the topos accomplishes work that extends beyond the performance of humility and its

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
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made their first faith void.” ’ 5 Throughout his life Cochlaeus remained an enthusiastic persecutor of heresy wherever he found it. With unconcealed pleasure he chronicles the decline and fall of the short-lived Anabaptist ‘kingdom of a thousand year’ at Münster (1534–5) – from the excesses of its tailor-turned-king, John of Leiden, to the massacre of his followers. Cochlaeus prides himself on directing the authorities to the clandestine printing press in Cologne where William Tyndale was preparing the first English translation of the New Testament in 1525, and

in Luther’s lives
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Beyond the witch trials

Stephan Bachter shows, the printing presses were equally instrumental in promoting and disseminating counter-Enlightenment modes of thought. They outline the rise of a ‘magic media market’, characterised by the popularisation of once intellectual occult subject matter, and the publication in German of once scarce manuscript sources. These developments were to have an impact far beyond European shores. Considering that the eighteenth century saw a significant widening of access to written sources of knowledge, it seems rather ironic that historians should be put off

in Beyond the witch trials
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Nonreading in late-medieval England

also of readers and the spaces they inhabited while reading, impacted reading experiences in profound ways. In explicitly inviting, modelling, or discouraging such practices, writers considered what it meant to be a reader even as their understanding of what it meant to be a writer underwent change influenced by altering notions of their own authority and, eventually, the printing press. They determined that readers could indeed participate in the creation of meaning, and guided their audiences towards the types of reading practices that did not require formal

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
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is information overflow. New technologies – from the printing press to the recent world of social media – always seem to produce a new abundance of information. The history of mass media contains many such examples. Encountering new technologies, people first feel overwhelmed or flooded with new possibilities, but sooner or later the difference between the blissful and the stressful will emerge. The ever-accumulating e-mails become a constant worry, whereas abundantly surfing YouTube remains a delight. They may change places in the future, though at present it does

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
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‘caused’ (in the sense of providing the necessary and sufficient conditions for) most significant political changes, though the direction of these developments was neither invariably clear nor unambiguously progressive. The advent of papyrus, for example, had a democratizing effect on knowledge in ancient Egypt by spreading information afar and beyond a priestly class. Much later, a further technological advance, the printing press, became (Innis here quotes G. M. Trevelyan) ‘a battering-ram to bring abbeys and castles crashing to the ground’. Innis’s work was filled

in The spoken word
Crafting authoritarian regimes in Russia’s regions and republics

. In Russia, presidents and governors, as we discussed in chapter 8, have captured control over the nomination and appointment of heads of federal bureaucracies situated in their territories (including members of regional courts, law enforcement and security bodies etc.). And they have also been able to draw on the considerable financial resources of their administrations (local government printing presses, administrative staff, transport and hotels) to support their electoral campaigns. In addition, the press in most regions is firmly under the control of the

in Federalism and democratisation in Russia

laborious process fraught with difficulties. Errors were all too common when printers were unfamiliar with the Welsh alphabet and language. However, with the lapsing of the Licensing Act after 1695, presses were soon to be established in Shrewsbury, which was much more convenient for both 72 Language, literacy and aspects of identity in early modern Wales authors and purchasers within Wales. The first printing press in Wales itself was set up by Isaac Carter at Trefhedyn near Newcastle Emlyn in 1718. Other presses were soon established in market towns, including Swansea

in The spoken word