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St. Michael's College Courses
Lindsey Eckert

September 27, 2011 The Manuscript Book and the Early Printed Book Williams and Abbott - New Bibliography and rise of critical editing - New Criticism • Bibliography as foundational (though clearly less important) role - Rise of Book History • Bibliography as “critical as well as fundamental” - Critical bibliography -- different editions of Shakespeare; people wanted the “best” edition - New bibliography -- not always about the editor’s opinion (I like this one best, so that will be our edition), go back and establish the earliest edition and give that precedence - Book History -- things outside the text aren’t important (historical, econom- ic) and let’s just do close reading (opposite of McKenzie and Darnton) - Establishing the text - Resurgence of interest in bibliography in the 1970s - Rise of literary criticism -- place text back in historical period - Became a fundamental practice to literary studies - Some editorial interpretive things going into production of bibliography What is bibliography? - Bibliography = “the study of books, including their texts, materials, history, production, and distribution; also an account, list, or description of books or words” (Williams and Abbott, 143) Branches of Bibliography Bibliography Reference Bibliography Physcial Bibliography Historical Bibliography Analytical Bibliography Descriptive Bibliography - Reference bibliography: branch of bibliography concerned primarily with enumerating, describing, and providing access to works as opposed to books (or other documentary forms) - Historical bibliography: a wider, broader approach to bibliography associat- ed with the larger questions Book Historians like Robert Darnton ask. - Analytical bibliography: the branch of bibliography “from the book out” - de- voted to determining the circumstances of books’ production through exam- ining such physical evidence such as ink, paper, typography, format, and ar- rangement of text - Descriptive bibliography (what we do): the branch of bibliography con- cerned with the principles and practice of describing the physical materials and forms of books (and other printed documents). Also, the product of such a study, such as a description of the books that have presented texts of an individual author’s works W.W. Greg - “The process of transcription is characterized by variation […] such varia- tion may be assumed to be universal, every transcription introducing some variants” (qtd. in Williams and Abbott, 7) - This is true, no matter by what media means “transcription” takes place - No two editions/versions are the same when they’re transmitted - We need to be aware of the transitions The Process of Transcription: Manuscript Production What is a book? - (relatively) portable - Container for a fairly significant amount of text Difference between codex and book? - Codex = “a book (as opposed, say, to a papyrus roll); in particular a manu- script book. The plural is codices” - A book that opens and closes Forms of Early Manuscript and Printed Materials - Early Chinese bamboo books - Asia and Europe = innovations happened simultaneously Papyrus Roll Books (Scrolls) - Earliest surviving roll book dates from the 4 century BC - Prominent in Egypt and Greek civilization rd - In decline by the 3 century AD -- rise of Christianity which favored the codex format (rise of Christianity = rise of codex) Parchment Codices - Made of sheets of parchment folded into leafs - Favored by Christians because the form was distinct from other religious writings (i.e. scrolls) Paper Codex - Paper: writing material made from pulped rags, wood, or other fibrous ma- terial - Invented in China as early as 1 century AD - Imported to Arab world by 8 century - Travelled to Europe via egypt and spain by 12 century though parchment continued to be the favored material long after - Didn’t take hold in Europe as primary material for written and printed book production until the late 15 century - First paper mill in England not until 1495 - Gutenberg printed his bible on parchment and paper - Printing press as agent of change - Paper = less costly than producing parchment (even though paper-making requires a large water source nearby) Anatomy of the Codex: Sheet = “a rectangular piece of paper [or parchment] used in printing [or manuscript book production] and then folded to create the leaves of a book” (Williams and Abbott, 166) Sheet is the basic unit of a codex, not a page The folded sheet creates a gathering of multiple leaves Leaf = “a piece of paper [or parchment] consisting of one page on its front (recto) and one on its back (verso); a page is one side of a leaf of a book Gathering = a book section consisting of a folded sheet; also folded portions of a sheet Materials: papyrus, parchment, paper Making papyrus: - Harvesting of papyrus reed plant (Egypt) - Stalks cut into long, thin strips - Strips soaked in water to release the plants’s natural glue - Strips laid out into 2 perpendicular layers (not woven) - Sheet is hammered out to release excess water and create thinner surface. It may be polished with ivory and shell Drawbacks: - Dry place like Egypt, not good in wet place - Brittle - not conducive to creating codex - Writing on a single side -- jagged writing surface on other side - Not as flexible/foldable as parchment of paper - Less durable than parchment or paper - Cost increased drastically as distance from Egypt increased -- more money spent producing it Making Parchment: Parchment = material made from animal skins, used specifically to refer to the skin of a sheep or goat (adult animals) Vellum = material made from the skin of a calf, kid, lamb (baby animals), of- ten whiter, smoother (no scars) --> you need to kill more animals because they’re smaller Uterine - finest grade of vellum made from an aborted calf Making Parchment 1. Skin washed thoroughly -- done by sources of water 2. Soaked in lime or brine - get rid of dead skin, hair, flesh, etc. 3. De-haired (hair side/flesh side -- you can tell which was the hair side [spots where hair used to be] and flesh side [cleaner, smoother surface]) 4. Stretched over a wooden frame to be scraped, first with pumice then chalk -- get smooth, shiny writing surface 5. Divided and cut into sheets, which would then be folded into gatherings of leafs. Each leaf would be lined or ruled Why Parchment? - You can write on both sides of the leaf - You can reuse parchment, resulting in palimpsests (if ink didn’t dry, wipe it off; if it did, scrape it off) - Parchment is easier to fold than papyrus -
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