Monday, July 22, 2013

Stories about Manuscripts, Early Printing, etc.

From a "scrapbook" of 16th-c. printing at HMML.
Some recent stories related to medieval and the early modern book world

Two stories from American Libraries Direct:

Four Magna Cartas, together after 800 years
The four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta—a critical document in the history of constitutional law—will be brought together for the first time in 2015, the 800th anniversary of the issue of the charter by England’s King John in 1215. The unification, which will be held at the British Library in collaboration with Lincoln Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral, will take place over three days in early 2015 and kick off a year of celebrations across the UK and the world....
British Library, July 14; Medieval Manuscripts Blog, July 15

Ancient Coptic monastery library gets new building
One of the world’s earliest libraries finally has its first dedicated building. The Syrian Monastery (Deir al-Surian), a Coptic Orthodox monastery in the Egyptian desert, was established in the 6th century A.D.; some of its manuscripts were collected by its abbot during a trip to Baghdad in 927. The new building opened in May and includes a reading room, a small display area, conservation facilities, and a basement store, all of which are secure and maintain proper environmental conditions....
The Art Newspaper, July 17


The St Andrews Book Conference for 2014
Lost books

"Questions of survival and loss bedevil the study of early printed books. Many early publications are not particularly rare, but others are very scarce, and many have disappeared altogether. We can infer this from the improbably large number of books that survive in only one copy, and it is confirmed by the many references in contemporary documents to books that cannot now be identified in surviving book collections.

This conference will address the issue of how far this corpus of lost books can be reconstructed from contemporary documentation, and how this emerging perception of the actual production of the early book trade – rather than those books that are known from modern library collections – should impact on our understanding of the industry and contemporary reading practice.

Papers are invited on any aspects of this subject: particular texts, classes of texts or authors particularly impacted by poor rates of survival; lost books revealed in contemporary lists or inventories; the collections of now dispersed libraries; deliberate and accidental destruction. Attention will also be given to ground-breaking recent attempts to estimate statistically the whole corpus of production in the first centuries of print by calculating rates of survival.

The conference will take place in St Andrews on the three days 19-21 June 2014.

The papers given at this conference will form the basis of a volume in the Library of the Written Word.

The call for papers is now open and also available online on the USTC website at the page: Those interested in giving a paper should contact Dr Flavia Bruni ( at St Andrews, offering a brief description of their likely contribution.

The call for papers will close on 30 November 2013."


 From the Book History and Print Culture Network:

Conference on Incunabula (Wolfenbüttel, 11-13 November 2013)

"The working group Wolfenbütteler Arbeitskreis für Bibliotheks-, Buch- und Mediengeschichte will hold a 3-day conference on incunabula from November 11-13, 2013 in the famous Herzog August Bibliothek. The topic of the bilingual (English/German) conference is “Der gegenwärtige Stand der materiellen Aspekte in der Inkunabelforschung” (“The current state of incunabula research with a focus on materiality”). "

The full announcement (with a list of speakers) can be found at:

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