Contribute to Teaching the Book

Following the lead of sister site Teaching the Codex, the Teaching the Book site reaches out for examples you have found that demonstrate particular features of books in the age of the hand-press. Formats can include a short text with image, a film, or a gallery of Multiples. Contributions are welcome, on all aspects of discovering material, preparing for sessions, or the experience of teaching with early books at any level. Please note the essential guide below: Text should be 300-400 words Images must be sent as jpegs and under 1 MB. Films must be available to all, to be … Continue reading Contribute to Teaching the Book

Paper Interruptions: False Starts in Ben Jonson’s Sejanus

from Georgina Wilson, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge When does a text begin and end? Ben Jonson was an early modern playwright and poet, best known for his rowdy city comedies. Sejanus His Fall is one of Jonson’s more serious plays, printed in 1605. The play draws heavily on many classical writers to describe the fall of the real Roman soldier, Lucius Aelius Sejanus (20BC–31AD).It’s impossible to ignore Jonson’s extensive historical borrowing, because the margins of Sejanus are littered with citations of Latin and Greek texts. Sometimes these marginalia threaten to overwhelm the English play text entirely. They show Jonson as a … Continue reading Paper Interruptions: False Starts in Ben Jonson’s Sejanus

Foldable Goostly Psalmes fragments

Miles (or Myles) Coverdale’s undated ‘Goostly Psalmes’ contains just over 40 songs in English, mostly translations of German hymns, with printed music. It is printed in the quarto format, with colophon ‘Imprynted by me Johan Gough. / Cum privilegio Regalj’. The only known complete copy is at The Queen’s College, Oxford, consisting of 60 leaves in total. Fragments can be found the Bodleian and Beinecke Libraries. In the foldable sheets linked here, we have joined images of these two sets of fragments: two leaves at the Bodleian, one each from signature B and signature C, and three leaves from signature … Continue reading Foldable Goostly Psalmes fragments

Oxford Seminar in the History of the Book

January – March 2021, Fridays at 2:15pm (GMT) with special session 29 Jan. at 5pm (GMT) Conveners: Cristina Dondi (Lincoln College, Oxford) and Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book) On-line: Join mailing list using this online form. Registrations will be honoured in the order received. You can register for the whole series or for selected seminars. Note, you must be registered at least 48 hours in advance to receive the joining instructions for that seminar. January 22 Matthew Payne, Keeper of the Muniments, Westminster Abbey, ‘Follow the Money: Wynkyn de Worde, Jacques Ferrebouc and the Bardi’ … Continue reading Oxford Seminar in the History of the Book

The ‘Bodleian’ First Folio

The Bodleian Libraries hold two copies of the first folio edition of Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (1623). These have not always been in the Library, though; hear about the tangled history of the ‘Bodleian’ copy from Emma Smith, here. And see the fully-digitised copy, shelfmarked Arch. G c.7, here. And read here about the conservation effort to secure this volume. See the list of digitized First Folios maintained by Sarah Werner at her blog Wynken de Worde http://sarahwerner.net/blog/digitized-first-folios/ Continue reading The ‘Bodleian’ First Folio

A foldable chapbook

The product of the early modern printing press is not the page, or the book, but the sheet. A book might consist of several sheets of paper folded into quires or gatherings, or just one. What revolutions and reversals make the pages either end up facing each other or separated by several other pages? Here’s a little book in the format called duodecimo. This book of twelve leaves or 24 pages is printable on one (double-sided) sheet of A4 paper, so it makes a really tiny book. The imposition plan used here comes from Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to … Continue reading A foldable chapbook

Bound-with, nonce, tract, pamphlet volume, and Sammelband

To save money and space many early book owners gathered up a number of separately published items and bound them together. Sometimes there was a theme, sometimes it was simply that everything was of a similar size, and occasionally the contents appear to be random. These volumes are referred to by various names. In the Bodleian, the preferred term is ‘bound-with’, and more than one hundred thousand volumes of separately published printed books, pamphlets, dissertations and single sheets are bound this way. Bodleian shelfmarks that include a bracket indicate there are several items bound together. For example, ‘Arch. G d.45 … Continue reading Bound-with, nonce, tract, pamphlet volume, and Sammelband