Monsters in the British Library

While we’re on the subject, a few pretty monsters, and g’night.

Monsters in the British Library

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Book as mitre

This from erikkwakkel:

A love story hidden in a hat

You are looking at a medieval book from c. 1270, but it has a most unusual shape – and a most ironic story. In fact, you are looking at fragments of a such a book, which form a research passion of mine. In the early-modern period bookbinders cut up medieval manuscripts because the handwritten objects had become old-fashioned after the invention of printing. As a result, we encounter snippets of manuscripts on the inside of bookbindings, as I explain in this blog about such beautiful destruction – a more recent discovery is presented in this blog.

Occasionally the recycled parchment sheets were used for other purposes: the pages in this image form the lining of a bishop’s mitre – onto which the cloth was subsequently pasted. What’s remarkable about the hat is not just that the poor bishop had a bunch of hidden medieval pages on his head, but that they were cut from a Norwegian translation of Old French love poetry (so-called lais). Lovers were chasing each other through dark corridors, maidens were frolicking in the fields, knights were butchering each other over nothing. All the while the oblivious bishop was performing the rites of the Holy Mass. It’s a wonderful historical clash; as well as the mother of all irony.

Pic: Copenhagen, Den Arnamagnæanske Samling, MS AM 666 b 4to (c. 1270,  Strengleikar, Norse translation of Old French love poems). More information about this wicked item here.

Still taking this one in. Jeez. Or should I say swounds. Which Urban Dictionary confirms is to “God’s wounds” as Jeez is to Jesus, darn to damn, frack to f**k. Language is the king of all compost piles.

Robert Grenier’s Sentences

A digital version of Robert Grenier’s seminal Sentences. My students have a great time with it and the questions it raises—what’s part and what’s whole? what’s the function in a poem of silence and empty space? how does dispersal of the poem as a digital edition affect its prior existence as a pricey handmade edition? when he writes “bird,” does he mean a bird, or does he mean “bird”?—keep us happy and hopping a long time.

Whalecloth’s home page, with a bit of context for the poem.

Robert Grenier’s Sentences