Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Ha-Mahazeh Ha-Ivri
by Abraham Yaari. These are but a few
examples o f many o f the effects o f special occurrences on p rin ted
works.
(b)
Place of Printing.
The rarity o f books depends in great
measure also upon the place o f printing. T he printing presses
which were not active in commercial centers and did not reach the
world market (such as those o f Bomberg and Justinian in Venice)
usually p rinted a small quantity o f copies. Dona Reyna, Joseph
Nasi’s widow who maintained printing presses in Belvedere and
later in Kurugeshme near Constantinople (c. 1593-98), published
some twenty books, all in limited editions. In his introduction to
his book
Torat Hesed,
the author, Isaac Jabez, wrote as follows: “I
have informed my acquaintances tha t I also p rinted 300 copies o f
Sefer Yafek Razon.
As for the present book, I am only prin ting 200
. . . O f what ma tter is it to me if the re will be more than 200
books.”
SCARCE ITEMS
Almost all the books which ap p e a re d in Be lvedere and
Kurugeshme are ra re and books like
Yihus Zaddikim, Mosh’aotEl
(a
commentary on the Hoshanot) and the tractates o f Pesahim and
Ketubot are more difficult to obtain than expensive incunabula.
Also scarce are some o f the early Safed prints:
Sefer Zemirot Yisrael
and
Sefer Mesaheket Tevel
by Israel Najara (1586), or the
Beraitha
de’Rabbi Eliezer,
o f which only the title page is extant. Rare also are
the books (about ten) which were printed in Chieri, Italy (1627-
32). The small press there was virtually a family unde rtak ing and
all its books, except for one, were written by its founde r Joseph
Concio. Most likely the inferior p rinting and the b lu rred type
contributed to the loss o f these books.
Mention should also be made o f a number o f excellent presses
that were active in the 16th century, all o f whose books (all too
few!) are very rare: Adrianople, Ichenhausen , Ilza, Tannhausen
and Trino.
T h roughou t the years there existed small presses tha t catered
to a limited clientele and that were short-lived, such as Pod-
Breznica, Poland, at the end o f the 18th century and the begin­
ning of the 19th. Also the press at Cochin, India, “favored” us