Erasmus. Declarationes des Erasmi. 1532.
If a single figure had to be chosen to typify the spirit of the Renaissance, few would deny the claim of Erasmus (1466-1536). His Colloquies, first published in Basel in 1524, began as formulas for public address, but later expanded into conversations in which all the major topics of the day were discussed with a freedom which ensured their popularity. For long afterwards they were read in schools, and there are lines in Shakespeare which directly recall Erasmus' words. [PMM] This edition of Declarationes was published during Erasmus' life by his close associate Johann Froben, who helped make the university town of Basel the European center of scholarly printing. The books which Froben printed were mostly those of Erasmus and of his friends such as Sir Thomas More: translations of the Greek classics, new editions of the Latin ones, and studies of the Church. Froben printed in a solid Roman type instead of the generally used Gothic, and the resulting style of Basel typography became for a while a dominant influence on European printing. Note how Froben has divided the letters of his surname across the printer's mark, a flourish inspired by Aldus.[AHB]
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