Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2020
Chapter 1 invites readers to think more carefully about paper as a technology. It begins with a brief investigation of the history of paper as a technological innovation, of its travel to the West and of its introduction to England. It then considers the story of paper entangled with other goods, like wool and other luxury items, such as spices. It tells a story of ingenuity, cultural contacts and convenience, and considers how investments in the making of paper are pivotal to the success of the craft itself. It reconstructs the social circumstances of the arrival of paper in England and its reception there. Instead of arguing for the revolutionary impact of paper or for scepticism about its adoption, this chapter argues for the acceptance of it within a complex set of transnational diplomatic and mercantile connections.