Monday, March 17

She cares not a turd':

Generally I absolutely hate people scribbling on books. They need to be pristine kids. The very idea of writing all over it is a bit foreign to me. It's like defacing them. 

But then defacement for somebody may be fascinating for somebody else. Here's a nice little investigative article on some scribbles on an old old book. 

And yes I do give a turd if you deface our books! 



'She cares not a turd': Notes on a 16th century Squabble - Medieval manuscripts blog

While we were preparing the catalogue entry for Harley MS 7334, one of our most recent uploads to Digitised Manuscripts, we came across a very curious marginal note, and would like to solicit your ideas about it.


Decorated initial ‘W’(han) at the beginning of the Canterbury Tales, England (London or East Anglia, c. 1410), Harley MS 7734, f. 1r

But first a bit of background.  This manuscript is a relatively early copy of Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales, and was created c. 1410 in England, probably in East Anglia.  The scribe who penned it was responsible for other manuscripts containing the Canterbury Tales (such as Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS 198, for example), leading some scholars to propose that it was a production of a commercial scriptorium specialising in such texts.  Harley MS 7334 has a rather complicated ownership history, and passed through a number of different hands during the tumultuous 15th and 16th centuries.  The task of untangling its provenance is both aided - and complicated - by the profusion of notes, signatures, and inscriptions that can be found throughout the manuscript, many of which were added by later hands.

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