• The Bookseller of Florence

  • The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance
  • By: Ross King
  • Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 3.2 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The Renaissance in Florence conjures images of beautiful frescoes and elegant buildings - the dazzling handiwork of the city's skilled artists and architects. But equally important for the centuries to follow were geniuses of a different sort: Florence's manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars, and booksellers, who blew the dust off a thousand years of history and, through the discovery and diffusion of ancient knowledge, imagined a new and enlightened world.

At the heart of this activity, which best-selling author Ross King relates in his exhilarating new book, was a remarkable man: Vespasiano da Bisticci. Born in 1422, he became what a friend called "the king of the world's booksellers". At a time when all books were made by hand, over four decades Vespasiano produced and sold many hundreds of volumes from his bookshop, which also became a gathering spot for debate and discussion. Besides repositories of ancient wisdom by the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian, his books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the finest miniaturists. His clients included a roll call of popes, kings, and princes across Europe who wished to burnish their reputations by founding magnificent libraries.

©2021 Ross King (P)2021 Tantor

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Great book, Horrible narrator

As usual, for Ross King, great book. It’s well written and rigorously researched. However, this audiobook is marred by horrendous narration. The narration became somewhat tolerable when sped up, but not enough, what with the narrator’s strange modulations and inflections, to render this audiobook as listenable .

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Horrible Narrator

Great story, and I knew much of it before I read it, having worked with antiquarian books and manuscripts for decades. I was happy the author made it more accessible to the general public. But the narrator was terrible. The number of names and terms he mispronounced was embarrassing. He was also very boring.