In March of 1518, Desiderius Erasmus sent his good friend Sir Thomas More a curious document that had recently come his way. It was the program for an academic event that was to have been staged four months earlier in a backwater university in an out-of-the-way north German town under the rule of the Ernestine branch of the Wettin Saxon Dukes. Originally printed in a broadsheet edition at the university print shop—the sixteenth-century equivalent of Kinko’s—at the behest of an obscure professor of theology, the program had already been reprinted in the imperial free city of Nuremberg as well as in Leipzig and Basel. In Basel, a cosmopolitan town of great culture, the broadsheet had been transformed into an elegant pamphlet complete with Roman numerals and careful spacing of the text to enhance readability, an unusual treatment for what might otherwise be viewed as academic...


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