Humanists with Inky Fingers: The Press Corrector in Renaissance Europe
The PFORZHEIMER LECTURE by Antony Grafotn (Princeton University)
This lecture brings back to life the largely forgotten world of Renaissance correctors: the print professionals who not only corrected proofs, as their title suggests, but readied copy for the press, drew up prefaces and tables of contents, compiled indexes and wrote blurbs. Surviving sources--which range from the ledgers that record their salaries to corrected proofs that reveal their practices--make it possible to show that correctors, though underpaid and often badly treated, played several vital roles in the printing shop. The modern editor, the modern desk editor and the modern literary agent trace their professional ancestry back to these poor devils of literature.