PRIVILEGES AND REGULATIONS IN GERMANY. 1450-1698.
FROM the time of the invention of printing, about 1450, to the end of the fifteenth century, the works of living authors played practically no part in the German book-trade, and the question of commercial results for their writers did not call for consideration. The printers and publishers of this period busied themselves almost exclusively in putting into print the manuscripts of the earlier ages. In this class of undertakings the principal task was to secure through the collation of different manuscripts an authoritative and trustworthy text, and the literary service required was not that of an author but of an editor. It is the contention of Schurmann and of other German historians that in the folio and quarto reprints of the fifteenth century German printers took the lead, and that their preëminence was hardly contested by the other printers of Europe until the time of the Reformation. This view, however, fails to do justice to the importance of the scholarly labours of Aldus of Venice, who was unquestionably the leading publisher of the fifteenth and early sixteenth century. As previously pointed out, Luther was probably the first German author to draw attention to the iniquity of literary piracy, and to prophesy the evils that must result to