The first book printed in France: Epistolae ("Letters"), by Gasparinus de Bergamo. The book was printed in 1470 by the press established by Johann Heynlin.

The first book printed in France: Epistolae ("Letters"), by Gasparinus de Bergamo. The book was printed in 1470 by the press established by Johann Heynlin.

Detail map of Paris, Île-de-France, France Overview map of Paris, Île-de-France, France

A: Paris, Île-de-France, France

Heynlin & Fichet Establish the First Press in France

1470
<p>A 17th century engraving of The Sorbonne, Paris.</p>

A 17th century engraving of The Sorbonne, Paris.

"The first press in Paris, which was established at the Sorbonne, has often and mistakenly been called the first university press. It would be better to call it the first private press, established at the Sorbonne by Heynlein von Stein and Guillaume Fichet, who called Gering, Friburger and Crantz to Paris, probably selected the texts, and presumably guaranteed any deficit; the texts produced by these printers were slanted largely towards persons interested in new learning, among them, of course, teachers and students of the university" (Hirsch, Printing, Selling and Reading 1450-1550 [1967] 51).

Heynlin and Fichet's first publication with this press, and the first book printed in France, was a collection of letters by the fifteenth century grammarian Gasparinus de Bergamo (Gasparin de Pergame, Gasparinus Barzizius). Barzizius's Epistolae, issued in 1470, were intended to provide exemplars for students for the writing of artful and elegant Latin. ISTC no. ib00260500.

The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue lists a total of 53 works from this press.

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