January 19, 2010
115 illus.
10.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
1.6 Pounds (US)
$50.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

A Sixteenth-Century Book of Trades

Das Standebuch

This extraordinary book of verses by Hans Sachs and engravings by Jost Ammam offers a vivid portrait of city life in Renaissance Germany. Covering 114 ranks (such as "king") and trades (including "thimblemaker"), it provides a unique cross-section of the daily life and social attitudes of the 16th century.

Through words and pictures, the reader can experience at first hand one of the first instances of the small-town outlook that was to be an essential part of European culture for centuries. Mixing popular attitudes, such as the contempt for lawyers, Jews, and beggars, with precise descriptions of occupations that range from clockmaking to fishing, the book opens a direct window into the distant past.

Das Ständebuch was also a remarkable pioneering venture by one of the leading publishers of the day, Sigmund Feyerabend. Its complex publication history, as well as the implications of its contents, are unraveled in the Introduction by Theodore K. Rabb, who in this book has also produced the first complete translation into modern English of the doggerel verse for which Sachs was famous.

About the Author

Theodore K. Rabb is emeritus professor of history, Princeton University. His publications include The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe, Renaissance Lives, and The Last Days of the Renaissance.


"Theodore Rabb has put into lively, accurate English the most important sixteenth-century German text on social structures. Its neat pairing of Jost Amman's images with Hans Sachs's texts illustrates the shift from medieval normative social ideas to purely descriptive ones and reveals how Protestant writers marginalized the medieval idea of a separate clerical hierarchy. This volume is a most welcome addition to our library of sixteenth-century German sources in English."—Thomas Brady, University of California, Berkeley

"In its totality, Das Standebuch offers a visually appealing snapshot of early modern German society accompanied by witty and literate commentary. . . . The decision to recast the original verse into English metric as a felicitous one since it gives readers a feel for the pleasure of the original. A delight to read."—Paula Findlen, Stanford University

"Professor Rabb's introduction combines wide learning and clear prose, enabling modern readers to look at this pathbreaking book through the eyes of the Reformation burgher society in which it was born."—Paul Needham, Princeton University


9780930664282 : a-sixteenth-century-book-of-trades-rabb
272 Pages
$50.00 USD

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