Goethe was German, as were Beethoven and Bach. So was Anne Frank, whose war-time dairy made her the most famous fourteen year old in the world.
And the Printing Press was invented in Germany.
Doesn’t quite connect, does it? Well, consider this – Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith and printer, was the one who introduced modern book printing. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of elements (such as use of oil based ink, moving type and wooden printing press) into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and made reading economically viable for printers and readers alike.
That, in today’s language means – ‘wunderbar Gutenberg. Invention was much in need. Seems you just changed the way people will read.’
So, every famous book, whether they were written by philosophers, composers or holocaust survivors wouldn’t have had the same impact and reach if it were not for Gutenberg’s invention. When he began building his press in 1436, it is unlikely that Gutenberg would have realized that he was giving birth to an art form which would take center stage in the social and industrial revolutions which followed.
And it is no wonder that Gutenberg’s legacy has made Germany one of the world’s leading book nations. Clear proof of this are the number of copies published of Kehlmann’s “Measuring the World”, a novel which in 2006 was one of the world’s best-selling books.
And as for books for children and young people, one of the most successful authors is Cornelia Funke whose Inkheart Series has been made into movies as well. In the fall of each year, the publishing world gathers in Germany at the world’s largest meeting of the trade, the International Frankfurt Book Fair.
To date, Gutnberg remains a towering figure and a popular image in the literary world. In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their “People of the Millennium” countdown, and in 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg’s invention as the most important of the second millennium. In 2006, Gutenberg! The Musical!, began its Off Broadway run in New York City.