The Joyful Traditionalist

I'm a joyful traditionalist.



This is the inside of the lovely binding featured recently.

This book is from Thomas á Kempis and is called De Imitatione Christi from 1489. It is written in Latin. BV4820 .A1 1489

Printed just a generation after Johannes Gutenberg’s Bible, the books in the first 50 years of printing with moveable type in the West are called incunabula (from the “cradle” or origin of printing). The category name exists because they more closely resemble handwritten manuscripts than modern printed books. Printers step by step began inventing the features that developed into what we recognize as a modern book, and the year 1500 is considered the (arbitrary) cutoff for incunabula. Existing side by side with handwritten manuscripts on vellum, incunabula are frequently decorated with care, treated to costly embellishment just like their parchment counterparts.

If you look at the inside of the front and back boards of the binding, this book was reinforced with bits of an “old” manuscript that wasn’t needed any longer as a text.  Sometimes texts thought to be lost turn up in bits and pieces, tucked in as waste in the bindings of later books.  Can you read this one? Our catalog has the scraps identified as “from a 14th century psalter.”

Many thanks to erikkwakkel for supplying additional information about these manuscript fragments used in the binding.  “…not 14th but late 12thc/c1200, origins Germany.”  This makes them some of our oldest fragments in UISpecColl!

(via renaissance-art)