Amicable Annotation, Part 3 (Marks of Owning and Recording)

[Image: How Gabriel Harvey marked his Livy. Made available through Annotated Books Online. For details, see below.] Part 1 is here. Part 2 here. Enjoy Part 3. My discussion thus far has focused on¬†scholarly annotation as a friendly practice. In order to account for the role of friendship in humanist times, though, we need a broader sense of the variety of ways early moderns marked up their books. Heidi Brayman Hackel’s Reading Material in Early Modern England sorts the period’s handwritten book-marks into three useful types, to which we will…

Amicable Annotation, Part 2 (Scholarly Annotation)

[Image: An Aldine Press edition of Lactantius’s Divine Institutes (image source here)] Part 1 on “amicable annotaiton” is here. Enjoy Part 2. In the first post in this series (“Friendship by the Book: B by F”), I argued that, among other things, humanism represents a revolution in book culture. Books were the necessary instrument of humanist expression (if not, existence). Humanism was, once again, something that one did with books–preferably those designed to humanist specifications. While the humanists transformed much of the physical nature of the book, they paid particular…

Amicable Annotation, Part 1 (Friendship by Book)

[Image: Page from an annotated early sixteenth-century copy of Erasmus’s Moriae Encomium.] Here begins the second post in the series on the reciprocal relation between friendship and the book–the book facilitating the practice of friendship, friendship shaping the materiality of the book–across the modern era. Readers new to the series are strongly encouraged to read the first post (found here), which discusses 1. what I’ve termed “the relational meanings of books” and 2. why friendship offers an ideal starting point for investigation into this dimension of the book’s usefulness. That…

On Anthology

E-advertisements for new anthologies (or other course texts) usually go straight to the trash bin. But I received one recently that included a passage that caught my eye (and stayed my hand as I moved to delete it) in which the editor Don LePan discussed the process of assembling the team behind an anthology: When we began to search for academics willing to join our group of general editors for the anthology, we were certainly looking for outstanding scholars. But we were also looking for scholars who we knew to…

Metascripts

                [Image: Opening of the Psalms, Aleppo Codex]     With the help of colophon-worthy manual labor from the students in my spring Technotexts seminar, my colleague Jeremy Botts and I have been collaborating over the last two months on a letterpress printing of a patch of biblical poetry. (As I plan to reflect on that project at greater length in a month or two, I’ll refrain from further discussion of its specifics for now.) The experience of hand-setting these poems has made…

An Artifact from Xerox-land

[Image Source: The Linotype Line (ca. 1960)] In Bibliographical Analysis: A Historical Introduction (2009), the great textual critic Thomas Tanselle observes that “books of the past two centuries are particularly resistant to the analysis of the underlying manufacturing procedures because the paper and type to seem to offer few usable clues.” Paper and type quality/style, as Tanselle observes in earlier chapters, represent the most revealing features of books printed in earlier periods due to their particularities, their irregularities. Machine-made paper (which lack, Tanselle laments, tell-tale chain-lines) and the rise of…

(Vo)Codex to Co(in)dex

The images above display the verso and recto leaves of a “Royal Bible” (British Library, Royal MS 1 E VI,), so called due to its residence in the Royal Library of the Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs. Its exact dates of composition and compilation are uncertain, though scholars date their latest estimates to the early eleventh century. These pages record Jesus’s death and, in the enlarged view of the recto page on the right, Mary Magdalene & “the other” Mary’s visit to the tomb late in Matthew’s Gospel–passages that, since the…

The Reformation and the Opening of the Book (Part 1)

Here begins the first of, let’s hope, two posts regarding the designs, on the page and the reader, of title pages issued in the Reformation. In this post, I examine the opening pages of books in the later medieval period and the turn of the sixteenth century, concluding with a brief discussion of a volume by Martin Luther published in the 1520. Prior to the last decades of the fifteenth century, medieval openers of bound bibles–whether written by hand or printed with movable type–would expect to find first pages like…

Minding the Gutter

[Feature image: Fiona Banner, Anatomy of a Book (2009)] Gutter of a volume is the channel and combined marginal space formed by the two inner or back margins of facing pages of a volume.¬†Book Arts Web On the rare occasion that I’ve given the gutter a moment’s thought, it has seemed to me a minor annoyance, one easily tolerated, though, because of the innumerable benefits of the technology that created it, the codex. Again, if I’d thought it over, I probably would have named the gutter among the few unfortunate…