The Production of the Landfras Printing Works and Publishing House in the 19th Century

Pages 154–176
DOI 10.2478/amnpsc-2018-0021
Keywords Landfras printing works – publishing house – 19th century – production – religious literature – prayer books – educational literature – textbooks – periodicals – entertainment literature – printed broadsides – Josef Landfras – Alois Landfras – Vilém Landfras – Václav Rodomil Kramerius – Jan Hýbl – J
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2018/63/3-4

The activities of the Landfras printing works and the associated publishing house are an important part of the history of book culture in the Czech lands in the 19th century and form a significant chapter in the history of book printing and publishing in this period. The focus of the production of the printing works and the publishing house reflected the new needs of literate broad social classes in the 19th century, showing increased interest in the printed word. The company used the modern methods and technologies available, which reduced the price of the final book or other printed materials. For publication, it selected titles whose sales were guaranteed or at least expected. The result was the repeated printing of a number of titles of religious, educational and entertainment literature, which had already been popular in previous centuries, and the development of contemporary titles for the general public from both urban and rural areas. For centuries, great popularity was mainly enjoyed by the titles of religious folk literature (Himmelschlüssel prayer books by the theologian Martin von Cochem and other prayer and devotional books), in which Baroque Catholic piety was reflected until the late 19th century. To the original Himmelschlüssel and other traditional titles, the printing works added titles of its regular authors and their translations of contemporary prayer and religious literature. It complemented the titles of secular entertainment literature (reprints of original works, e.g. Kronika o Štilfridovi [The Chronicle of Štilfríd] or Kronika sedmi mudrců [The Chronicle of the Seven Wise Men]) with translations and original works by Jan Hýbl and Václav Rodomil Kramerius, and it also printed moralising stories by local priests. Educational literature, such as guides for homesteaders, cooks and the like sold also well. A separate activity section comprises the publication and printing of textbooks mostly for local schools. Until the end of the 19th century, they were abundantly complemented by printed broadsides, affordable to every household. A significant chapter of the 19th century was the development of periodicals, which was mirrored in the second half of that century also in newly emerging regional titles, especially in the weekly Ohlas od Nežárky [Echoes from the River Nežárka], which began to be published in 1871.

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