The Typographic Hub

Against printers

3rd October 2010

Prints Past / Father Filippon de Strata, a priest, was a luddite when it came to printing

Father Filippon de Strata, a Catholic priest and scribe of some repute, was a bit of a luddite when it came to printers. So outraged was he at the insidious and seditious nature of print, that he felt moved to make his views on the profession only too clear in his letter to the Doge of Venice, 1473.

I, a scribe of good reputation, have been driven out of house and home by these cunning printers. They print without any shame, and at very low price, things that inflame the passions, while we scribes die of hunger. Cure this plague, if you will, by getting rid of printers. They persist in their wicked behaviour, setting Tibullus in type, while young girls read Ovid to learn about sin. These printers encourage this because they make such huge profits from it. They flood the market with anything that hints at lasciviousness. Destroy the printing press I beg you, or these evil men with triumph.

Well, Father, just look who got the last laugh!