Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aldus Society

We had a busy summer filled with two “book crawls” through local rare and used book collections followed by a meal at a local restaurant. July included a picnic, held indoors due to extremely hot weather. When PulpFest came to town, many Aldus members attended the talk by Ed Hulse, about the origins of Batman and Superman.

Our September speaker will be Dr. John Friedman, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His talk is entitled “The Making of a Medieval Manuscript Facsimile: Bibliothèque Nationale de France MS fr. 22971," a project with which he was involved. Owned by the Bibliothèque Nationale, this manuscript is one of four made between 1427 and 1485 that form a larger work called Secrets of Natural History. Dr. Friedman will discuss how the collecting of facsimiles came about with the rise of chromolithography in the mid-19th century. Today there are several firms in Spain that specialize in the process. Modern facsimiles are not mere re-printings of the originals, but digital reproductions correct in all particulars even to the wooden bindings, worm holes, and gold leaf. During his presentation Friedman will describe the contents of Secrets, show a selection of its miniatures, and discuss the making of such a facsimile.

Our October speaker is Mike Whelan of Indianapolis, the current "Wiggins" or chairman of The Baker Street Irregulars. Whelan will speak on The Bibliophilic Anatomy of a Literary Society. Whelan’s talk will include 1) a short history of the Baker Street Irregulars, (2) types of collecting of Sherlockiana, and (3) small press books and journals dealing with Sherlockiana.

November features Eric Johnson, Assistant Professor and Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at Ohio State University Library. Johnson will talk on the transitional Hornby Bible of ca. 1210 to 1220 A.D. "Deconstructing and Reconstructing a Medieval Bible” explores the values of a book. When it comes to medieval manuscripts, this question invites many answers. Beyond pecuniary worth, manuscripts embody intellectual, artifactual, cultural, social, and talismanic value. Dr. Johnson will discuss the competing and sometimes complementary notions of “value” or “worth” that underlie our modern understanding and appreciation of medieval manuscripts by examining the life of the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (OSU MS.MR14). An example of a rare “proto-Paris” Bible likely produced in a Parisian workshop sometime in the early 1220s, this Bible survived intact until 1981 when it was sold at auction and promptly broken by its purchasers to be sold off leaf-by-leaf. Johnson will discuss the manuscript’s original value as a witness to the dynamic transitional period of early-thirteenth century biblical packaging and production, its subsequent revaluation down the centuries as an objet d’art (as opposed to a utilitarian—if deluxe—text), its destruction and “re-packaging” into 440 constituent units of sale, and the slow, methodical process of reconstructing both the manuscript itself (physically and digitally) and its original textual, artifactual, and intellectual significance at The Ohio State University."

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