THE FIRST PRINTING PRESS
The first printing was done in China and Japan in the 5th century. At that time books were very hard to make and few people could read or write, so when a new book appeared it was a great event and each book was unique.
The first printers used blocks of wood and cut letters and pictures in them. The process was slow and hard. It took nearly a thousand years before any real change was made in book printing.
Many men worked on the problem. Johann Gutenberg, a German printer living in Mainz, is generally believed to be the first man who solved the problem. Gutenberg had the idea of using metal instead of wood and make the metal plates move. He printed his first book, the famous Gutenberg Bible, by this method between 1453 and 1456. Gutenberg’s letters could be easily put into words, lines and pages. This system is still in use today.
In England the first real printing press was used by William Caxton. He had learned the method of printing in Germany. In 1477 Caxton’s press at Westminster produced “Dictes”, the first dated book printed in England. Altogether, Caxton published more than 90 books, they included his own translating from French and Latin.
Аудиозапись № 28 к упражнению 1
Nikolai Gumilyov was born in 1886. When a child, he was a great reader and began writing poems very early. Most of all the boy liked to read about far-away countries and travelling.
At the age of 12 he made his first journey when his family moved to Tiflis, now Tbilisi. Nikolai loved living in the south where the sun was so bright and the sky was so blue. In Tiflis he published his first poem in a real grown-up newspaper.
The family returned to St Petersburg where Nikolai went to a grammar school. The boy was not among the best pupils, but the Head of the school, Innokenty Annensky, a poet himself, understood very early how talented the boy was. After finishing school Nikolai left home for Paris, where he became a student in the Sorbonne University. He still dreamed about travelling. Most of all he wanted to see Africa. His father didn’t like the idea and the young man secretly saved some of the money his parents sent him. In 1907 his dream came true, he went to Africa: first to Egypt and then to Sudan. Before going away he had written a lot of letters to his parents and asked his friends to send them to StPetersburg, to his parents as he didn’t want them to know about his trip.
Africa caught his imagination, he fell in love with it as soon as he saw it. He travelled about the continent more than once and helped to study the life and culture of its peoples. But what is more important, the new impressions made him write some of his best poems.