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What makes a book a book? 到底什么才叫书呢? Is it just anything that stores and communicates information? 是指那些能储存或者传达信息的东西吗? Or does it have to do with paper, binding, font, ink, its weight in your hands, the smell of the pages? 还是它必须与跟纸、装订、字体、墨水、拿在手中的重量和书页的气味有关? Is this a book? Probably not. 这是书吗?大概不是。 But is this? 那这个呢? To answer these questions, we need to go back to the start of the book as we know it and understand how these elements came together to make something more than the sum of their parts. 为了回答这些问题,我们需要回溯到已知的书的起源,去了解不同的的元素如何一起去整合为一件有着丰富意义的物件。 The earliest object that we think of as a book is the codex, a stack of pages bound along one edge. 我们已知的最早期的书是抄本,一叠单边装订的纸页。 But the real turning point in book history was Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in the mid-15th century. 但是在书的历史中真正的转折点,是Johannes Gutenberg在十五世纪中期发明的印刷机。 The concept of moveable type had been invented much earlier in Eastern culture, but the introduction of Gutenberg's press had a profound effect. 虽然东方在更早时就发明了活字印刷术,但Gutenberg的印刷机却带来了巨大的影响。 Suddenly, an elite class of monks and the ruling class no longer controlled the production of texts. 突然间,诸如僧人和统治阶级之类的精英阶层无法再控制文本的生产。 Messages could spread more easily, and copies could constantly be produced, so printing houses popped up all over Europe. 消息可以更简单地传播,文本可以不停地复制,因此全欧洲涌现了许多印刷厂。 The product of this bibliographic boom is familiar to us in some respects, but markedly different in others. 在书本蓬勃发展的时代的产品在很多方面是我们所熟悉的,但也在一些方面存在显著不同。 The skeleton of the book is paper, type, and cover. 书的骨架是纸、字和封面。 More than 2000 years ago, China invented paper as a writing surface, which was itself predated by Egyptian papyrus. 在两千多年以前,中国发明了纸作为书写平台,而之前的书写平台是埃及的纸莎草。 However, until the 16th century, Europeans mainly wrote on thin sheets of wood and durable parchment made of stretched animal skins. 然而直到十六世纪,欧洲人主要把字写在薄木片或者用动物皮延展制成的耐用羊皮纸上。 Eventually, the popularity of paper spread throughout Europe, replacing parchment for most printings because it was less expensive in bulk. 最终,纸在欧洲也得到了广泛的使用,在大多数印刷中取代了羊皮纸,因为散装购买更便宜。 Inks had been made by combining organic plant and animal dyes with water or wine, but since water doesn't stick to metal type, use of the printing press required a change to oil-based ink. 墨水之前都是利用有机的植物与动物染料,加上水或酒一起合成,但由于金属活字不能沾水,印刷机的使用需要一种油基墨水。 Printers used black ink made of a mixture of lamp soot, turpentine, and walnut oil. 印刷机用的黑色墨水是由灯烟灰、松节油和胡桃油混合制成。 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20180212/536411.html