The Creation of the Printing Press

The Renaissance was the period of vast rebirth throughout the arts. Between the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, the concept of the arts became important among many classes. One of the results of this shift in thinking was the creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440.

Before Gutenberg’s creation, elementary presses were employed. For instance, books were created using a block printing method, where characters and images were carved into a wooden block and then pressed on paper. Block printing proved to be time consuming and expensive because each page was individual.  According to Steven Kreis, of The History Guide, Gutenberg made replication of texts easier by using different metals and melting them at a low temperature to create moveable type, which could be used multiple times. The simplicity of his creation (at that time) allowed for several copies of one story to be replicated and scattered across cities.

The printing press allowed reading to be an inclusive act – it was no longer a concept for the privileged. During the Medieval age, books were inscribed by hand and illuminated; the copies were so expensive that they were often chained to bookshelves.   After the creation of the printing press, literacy rates increased among the middle class, which led to its rise, another consequence of this time period. Before the printing press, stories were read aloud to a group of people or memorized and shared orally as part of the oral tradition; however, this creation paved the way to individual reading. People had the limited freedom to choose a story that suited them.

One of the first books that was mass produced was Gutenberg’s own creation, the Gutenberg Bible. He created 200 copies of the book on vellum, which is fine parchment paper from the skin of a calf. He sold these books at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1455. In the world, fifty copies of this book remain.

The creation of the printing press led to the sharing of ideas and opinions. People were able to become more enlightened individuals by absorbing new information. The technique and mechanism of the printing press also made it possible for books to be affordably mass produced, which in turn allowed the spread of information to be easier.

The Renaissance Period was the age of enlightenment, when people appreciated the arts. Literature and information are two valuable components of this period and without the aid of the printing press, the enlightenment would not have come as .

After you have read about the creation of the printing press, compare it to your experience living in the technology era; do you prefer to read books in print or digitally?

Maori Literary History

At the University of North Georgia Press, we are interested in enlightening our readers on the literary history of different nations. The Maori tribe of New Zealand’s literary beginning and growth is unique in that, since the beginning, the development has been slow. It was not until the seventies, that Maori literature obtained wide-spread popularity, but since then it has seen an enormous boom.

The beginning of New Zealand literature commenced when the Maori people called this island home around one thousand years ago. Like most cultures, the original Maori literature was shared orally through “laments, love poems, war chants, and prayers” (Christian Karlson Stead, 2014). The Maori people also shared the folklore of their gods.

In 1642, European pioneer Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand. Shortly after, in 1769 James Cook also made the voyage to the country. These two expeditions initiated the beginning of the European presence in New Zealand. A friendly greeting was not granted by Maori people when Europeans arrived; Maori people contracted several diseases to which they were not immune. The Europeans feared that the entire Maori population would die out,  so they began to collect Maori legends and preserve them in their original Maori language. These legends were shared among the Maori and Pakeha (European) people, which led to a greater sense of shared cultural identity.

The marae, which is the meeting place of Maori people, was the hub of the tribe’s literary history. In this spiritual space, oral stories were told, and striking performances entertained all who were in attendance. The Maori literature shed light on how the past affected current issues or circumstances. Maori stories seek to reinforce the innate values of their culture, one being mohiotanga, which is the share of information among all. However, without proper copyright guidelines, authorship was not always given to the correct individual.

After World War II, Maori authors wrote in English and were not usually fluent in the Maori language. It seemed as though the Maori literary traditions were lost forever. But, in the 1970s, the notion that Maori literature was solely a historical record ended. Maori authors wrote in English but discussed Maori issues. Books such as Once Were Warriors (Alan Duff, 1990) describe, in a dark way, how “Maori must take responsibility for their own failures and find the means to correct them” (Stead, 2014). The book describes a ‘modern’ Maori family which is poverty-stricken and full of misfortunes, some preventable and some not. According to Craig Cunningham, he states that the novel (which was later turned into a film) is, “ongoing argument between both younger and urban Maori and older rural Maori about what in fact it means to be Maori” (2013).

In recent years, New Zealand has seen an increase in literature written in the Maori language. A survey conducted by Statistics NZ (2013) discovered that only eleven percent of Maori people speak their native tongue fluently. But, authors have been making an effort to translate their pieces from English to Maori in order to further preserve their heritage.

The Maori literary history has come a long way since its oral beginning; however, Maori authors are still writing to preserve their heritage and share their culture with the rest of the world.

Helpful Study Tips for Summer Classes

Enrolling in summer courses can often times be daunting. For instance, you must sacrifice sun-drenched opportunities and cram an entire semester’s work into one month. It can often feel overwhelming and lead to the engulfing question of why.

However, there is a bright, sunshine-y side to every situation. We wanted to share a couple of tips to maximize productivity in order for you to have a healthy balance between school and beach!

Plan ahead. Summer courses require a larger work load because of their shorter duration; therefore, they require you to plan ahead. It is imperative to set aside an hour or two one day a week in order to plan out all of your upcoming tasks. Purchase a productivity planner which will help you visualize the tasks you need to complete and the expected time of completion. But, it does not stop there; you must actually follow through with your plans. Assignments are chaotic enough; don’t prolong stress by being unorganized.

Make friends in your classes. Summer classes coupled with a quick scroll through social media, can often times lead to a feeling of isolation. Lucky for you, there are several other people in the exact same boat. Reach out to the people in your classes. Form study groups. Start group messages. This way, you can brave the summer months with some companions and hopefully form long-lasting friendships. Miriam Clifford, of Teach Thought (2011), suggests that a group should be comprised of three to four individuals, and she suggests that the group decides on shared goals.

Give yourself a break. Dedicating time to assignments and attending class is important. However, education is supposed to be fun. In order to stay focused and have a clear mind, you must take a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Grab coffee with a friend and communicate. Go for a walk. Swim. Even pause for five minutes and dance around your room.

The most important tip we can offer is to be proud of yourself. Although summer classes (and all classes for that matter) require a lot of time, sacrifice and dedication, you are advancing your intellect and your career. Education is not awarded to all individuals; instead of feeling stressed – feel thankful.

We hope these tips help our readers. We want to hear from you, how do you cope with stressful summer?

A Review of The Southern Philosopher: Collected Stories of John William Corrington edited by Allen Mendenhall

Poet, attorney and film-writer John William Corrington was an enigmatic artist whose life (1932-1988) spanned a pivotal era in the history of Southern letters.  Raised Catholic during the Great Depression, Corrington attended Centenary College and completed a graduate degree in Renaissance literature from Rice University as well as a D.Phil from the University of Sussex.  He went on to serve on the faculties of Louisiana State and Loyola University at New Orleans.  Editor Allen Mendenhall correctly characterizes him as a “latter-day Southern Fugitive” in the tradition of the authors of I’ll Take My Stand.  Like John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate and Donald Davidson, Corrington, though, is not easily characterized.  His peripatetic life mirrors those of the Agrarians, but even moreso those of second generation followers like Richard Weaver and Mel Bradford.  Like the Agrarians, he began as a poet, but moved to fiction and literary criticism before, redolent of William Faulkner, venturing into screenwriting.  Like Weaver, he was an anti-modernist who viewed the South as embodying a mytho-poetic counterweight to modernity.  Like Bradford, Corrington, a partisan of Eric Voegelin and critic of Abraham Lincoln, was a gadfly within the emergent post-World War Two conservative intellectual movement.  The Southern Philosopher is a collection of Corrington’s previously unpublished essays on literature, intellectual history and gnosticism.

Corrington’s Agrarian anti-modernism is exemplified by the following passage from the opening essay titled “The Mystery of Writing.”  He writes:

We seem to have reached a point in our national development where we are prepared to do anything rather than think, anything except examine our collapsing culture and try to determine what it is telling us–anything but face the reality that we have turned away from the heights and depths of life itself and settled into a kind of spiritual and intellectual fog from which no judgments worthy of the name can issue, and into which every new insight seems to vanish without a trace. (11)

Like his Agrarian forebears, Corrington’s imagination was shaped by the implicit irony of this historical condition and the obligation to, he wrote, “bequeath the mystery to another generation.” (13)  In the remaining essays, Corrington lays forth the conditions under which the modern and postmodern man of letters must strive to render the mystery inheritable.  Much like Weaver, Corrington became a historian of both the glory and inadequacy of Western thought.  In “The Recovery of the Humanities,” he traces the origins of mythopoetic thought in the West, the impact of Christianity and the Enlightenment declension into scientism and materialism. Corrington’s anti-modernism, like that of Mel Bradford, was influenced by Eric Voegelin’s meditations on the historical impact of gnosticism.  However, unlike Bradford who largely used the concept to impugn the political philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, Corrington elaborated a metahistorical vision of the manner in which gnostic thought, in its premodern and modern varieties, was responsible for modern man’s philosophical displacement.  Indeed, Corrington, in his two part “A Brief History of Gnosticism,” arguably furnishes a more accessible history of gnostic thought than those offered by Voegelin himself.  This, of course, is due to Corrington’s intelligence, but equally to what  Mendenhall aptly describes as his “stark, provocative and profoundly sensitive” proclivities as a writer.  As such, Corrington is a forgotten pivotal figure in the history of American conservatism and especially to second generation Agrarian traditionalism.  Furthermore, his critique of modernity, in and of itself, adds considerably to the history of conservative thought in the West.  For these reasons and more, The Southern Philosopher is a welcome addition to the history of American letters.

Jay Langdale
Troy University


Get your copy of The Southern Philosopher: Collected Essays of John William Corrington 
Next Tuesday, July 18th!


Writing Competition Alert!

Here at the University of North Georgia Press, we always keep our eyes open for exciting opportunities for authors or fledgling writers to expand their craft and maybe even win some prizes. Recently, the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition has come to our attention as a thrilling event for those who feel moved to try their hand at writing a short story.

Via Flickr

The competition is sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland. Founded in 1993, this non-profit arts organization has dedicated itself to the “promotion and celebration of literature.” The Munster Literature Centre organizes many events such as festivals, workshops, readings, and competitions. They also publish a biannual journal of poetry collections and short stories called the Southword Editions. The centre seeks “to support new and emerging writers.”

The Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition is open to writers from all over the world and accepts submissions every year from May through July. The submitted short story must be an original and unpublished or unbroadcasted work originally written in English that is less then 3,000 words. The story can be on any “subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world,” and the judging process is completely anonymous. To look at the full submission guidelines go here.

Now, the entry fee is twenty dollars, but it sounds pretty reasonable compared to the possible prizes. The first prize winner receives €2,000, or $2,308, publication in the Southword literary journal, and a week-long residency at Anam Cara’s Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat. The second prize wins €500 and is also published in Southword.

If you like travel and you win the first place prize, you’ll be excited to hear about another perk you will receive. The first prize winner will be announced at the Cork International Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland on September 13-16, 2017. They will be asked to read their prize-winning story at the festival and their hotel accommodation, meals, drinks, and VIP access to the literary stars in attendance at the festival will all be provided.

So get your writing together, and get your submissions in—remember they are due at the end of this month!

Speaking of short stories, hold onto your hats because the Press is releasing a work of short stories this fall titled Floods and Fires by Dan Leach. We’re so excited to share his first short story collection with you this upcoming fall.

To keep up to date on this title and more check in on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook!