In this detailed overview of the history of the handmade book, Avrin looks at the development of scripts and styles of illumination, the making of manuscripts, and the technological processes involved in paper-making and book-binding.
The study of writing and reading in the middle ages is not only of direct importance to the understanding of its culture but also fascinating in its own right. Scribes, Scripts and Readers brings together fifteen essays by M.B. Parkes, the author of English Cursive Book Hands, 1250-1500. Centred on England and her direct neighbours, they deal with scribes and schools of writing, scribal techniques, and wider questions of communication in written language, literacy and the availability of books. This is a book of interest not only to palaeographers but also to historians, linguists, literary scholars and librarians.
“Everybody who has ever read a book will benefit from the way Keith Houston explores the most powerful object of our time. And everybody who has read it will agree that reports of the book’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”—Erik Spiekermann, typographer We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages—of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity’s most important—and universal—information technology.
The book as object, as content, as idea, as interface. What is the book in a digital age? Is it a physical object containing pages encased in covers? Is it a portable device that gives us access to entire libraries? The codex, the book as bound paper sheets, emerged around 150 CE. It was preceded by clay tablets and papyrus scrolls. Are those books? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Amaranth Borsuk considers the history of the book, the future of the book, and the idea of the book. Tracing the interrelationship of form and content in the book's development, she bridges book history, book arts, and electronic literature to expand our definition of an object we thought we knew intimately. Contrary to the many reports of its death (which has been blamed at various times on newspapers, television, and e-readers), the book is alive. Despite nostalgic paeans to the codex and its printed pages, Borsuk reminds us, the term “book” commonly refers to both medium and content. And the medium has proved to be malleable. Rather than pinning our notion of the book to a single form, Borsuk argues, we should remember its long history of transformation. Considering the book as object, content, idea, and interface, she shows that the physical form of the book has always been the site of experimentation and play. Rather than creating a false dichotomy between print and digital media, we should appreciate their continuities.
A fully illustrated exploration of fifteen writing styles drawn from historical manuscripts. Clear examples show how the scripts were developed and used in the past and how they can be written by modern calligraphers.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2012 Almost six hundred years ago, a short, genial man took a very old manuscript off a library shelf. With excitement, he saw what he had discovered and ordered it copied. The book was a miraculously surviving copy of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things by Lucretius and it changed the course of history. He found a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas – that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion. These ideas fuelled the Renaissance, inspiring Botticelli, shaping the thoughts of Montaigne, Darwin and Einstein. An innovative work of history by one of the world’s most celebrated scholars and a thrilling story of discovery, The Swerve details how one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, made possible the world as we know it. Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction
The volume contains a critical review of data, results and open problems concerning the principal Greek and Coptic majuscule bookhands, based on previous research of the author, revised and updated to offer an overview of the different graphic phenomena. Although the various chapters address the history of different types of scripts (i.e. biblical majuscule, sloping poitend majuscule, liturgical majuscule, epigraphic and monumental scripts), their juxtaposition allows us to identify common issues of the comparative method of palaeography. From an overall critical assessment of these aspects the impossibility of applying a unique historical paradigm to interpret the formal expressions and the history of the different bookhands comes up, due to the fact that each script follows different paths. Particular attention is also devoted to the use of Greek majuscules in the writing of ancient Christian books. A modern and critical awareness of palaeographic method may help to place the individual witnesses in the context of the main graphic trends, in the social and cultural environments in which they developed, and in a more accurate chronological framework.
Alan D. Crown provides a guide to the techniques used by the Samaritan scribes in copying manuscripts. He places Samaritan works in a description of their literary history and shows the more important manuscripts of each type of literature. In addition there is a listing of Samaritan scribes and the manuscripts for which they were responsible. Overall the work shows that the Samaritan scribes were innovative but their scribal techniques derived from an ancient pool of scribal habits and ideas and they had what can be described as a masoretic tradition of their own. Variation in writing habits arose in different scribal schools, some of them are indicated. All in all, the work is a codicology of Samaritan manuscripts.
The medieval Ashkenazi manuscripts of the Small Book of Commandments (Sefer Mitzvot Katan, or ‘SeMaK’ for short), which was written by Isaac of Corbeil, attest a scribal culture in which rabbinical knowledge and piety were combined with creative freedom in manuscript design. This study is concerned with the creation, composition and circulation of manuscripts of the SeMaK and concentrates on the book as an artefact. The focus of the author’s attention is the manuscripts’ material nature, their artistic embellishment and the personal touches that scribes added to them. With the act of writing a text and decorating a SeMaK manuscript, they ‘appropriated’ the text, so to speak, giving it a character of its very own. They drew on a visual language in the process – or rather, on visual languages, which occupy a special place between pure writing culture and pure painting culture. It was in this area ‘in between’ the two that spontaneous touches arose, ranging from changes in the physical arrangement of the text (mise-en-page) to drawings and doodles added in the margins. An examination of paratextual elements broadens the reader’s knowledge about Jewish scribal culture and grants insights into medieval book art, material culture and Judeo-Christian co-existence in the Middle Ages as well as throwing some light on Jewish values, ideals and eschatological hopes.
For many years it has been recognized that the key to explaining the production of the Bible lies in understanding the profession, the practice and the mentality of scribes in the ancient Near East, classical Greece and the Greco-Roman world. In many ways, however, the production of the Jewish literary canon, while reflecting wider practice, constitutes an exception because of its religious function as the written "word of God", leading in turn to the veneration of scrolls as sacred and even cultic objects in themselves. "Writing the Bible" brings together the wide-ranging study of all major aspects of ancient writing and writers. The essays cover the dissemination of texts, book and canon formation, and the social and political effects of writing and of textual knowledge. Central issues discussed include the status of the scribe, the nature of 'authorship', the relationship between copying and redacting, and the relative status of oral and written knowledge. The writers examined include Ilimilku of Ugarit, the scribes of ancient Greece, Ben Sira, Galen, Origen and the author of Pseudo-Clement.
A COMPANION TO THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK A COMPANION TO THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK Edited by Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose “As a stimulating overview of the multidimensional present state of the field, the Companion has no peer.” Choice “If you want to understand how cultures come into being, endure, and change, then you need to come to terms with the rich and often surprising history Of the book ... Eliot and Rose have done a fine job. Their volume can be heartily recommended. “ Adrian Johns, Technology and Culture From the early Sumerian clay tablet through to the emergence of the electronic text, this Companion provides a continuous and coherent account of the history of the book. A team of expert contributors draws on the latest research in order to offer a cogent, transcontinental narrative. Many of them use illustrative examples and case studies of well-known texts, conveying the excitement surrounding this rapidly developing field. The Companion is organized around four distinct approaches to the history of the book. First, it introduces the variety of methods used by book historians and allied specialists, from the long-established discipline of bibliography to newer IT-based approaches. Next, it provides a broad chronological survey of the forms and content of texts. The third section situates the book in the context of text culture as a whole, while the final section addresses broader issues, such as literacy, copyright, and the future of the book. Contributors to this volume: Michael Albin, Martin Andrews, Rob Banham, Megan L Benton, Michelle P. Brown, Marie-Frangoise Cachin, Hortensia Calvo, Charles Chadwyck-Healey, M. T. Clanchy, Stephen Colclough, Patricia Crain, J. S. Edgren, Simon Eliot, John Feather, David Finkelstein, David Greetham, Robert A. Gross, Deana Heath, Lotte Hellinga, T. H. Howard-Hill, Peter Kornicki, Beth Luey, Paul Luna, Russell L. Martin Ill, Jean-Yves Mollier, Angus Phillips, Eleanor Robson, Cornelia Roemer, Jonathan Rose, Emile G. L Schrijver, David J. Shaw, Graham Shaw, Claire Squires, Rietje van Vliet, James Wald, Rowan Watson, Alexis Weedon, Adriaan van der Weel, Wayne A. Wiegand, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén.