Binding Time & Space:

Examining a Renaissance Italian Manuscript in the Computer Age

In this the dawn of the computer age (perhaps it is the early morning--it's difficult to know), I can yet hold a fifteenth-century manuscript in one hand as I reach for the keyboard with the other. I can examine the craftsmanship, feel the texture, and then I can type in an attempt to suggest why and how information was stored in this outmoded fashion. There is history attached to this text; it stretches back to the zenith of ancient Greek philosophy/science and forward to today.

The accompanying discussion touches on some aspects of this history--the intellectual provenance of the text--but it does not provide comprehensive historical treatment. It does not even attempt comprehensive paleographical or bibliographical treatment. The works contained within this Renaissance manuscript have a rich and complex background that has been more skillfully covered by others. This discussion dwells instead upon the physical aspects of the text, specifically the construction of its binding.

Bookbindings are meant to protect, preserve, and decorate their contents. Approximately 500 years after it was fashioned by an unidentified craftsman, this binding still performs these tasks.

The Opening Brief introduction to Ms. Latin 13
How Ms. Latin 13 was bound Ms. Latin 13 described
Scholarship Glossary
Meditation on Ms. Latin 13 Stockton's Homepage