Bad medieval book manners. Part 2

Here is the second and last part of an article about the care of books in the Middle Ages that I have recently begun writing. Part one can be found here. If you’d rather not read the first part, then you can still enjoy, I hope, the rest of this article. We are following Richard de Bury,Continue reading “Bad medieval book manners. Part 2”

Bad medieval book manners. Part 1

Handle with care. Those who have worked with manuscripts in libraries and archives know that the casual relationship between the reader and the printed book stops at the door and a special covenant enters into force once we approach bound parchment (ok, some paper, too, mais j’en passe). ‘Be careful with that’, ‘no flash, please’, ‘don’tContinue reading “Bad medieval book manners. Part 1”

Avoiding fraud in medieval book borrowing

Borrowing library books was not a casual process in the middle ages. Sometimes borrowing was simply not allowed, and chained monastic libraries are perhaps the best example of this institutional interdiction. Secular libraries, however, almost always allowed borrowing, but not as liberally as one would imagine. For instance, Richard de Bury, the greatest bibliophile of the medieval periodContinue reading “Avoiding fraud in medieval book borrowing”

Petrarch on the love of books

Richard de Bury’s Philobiblon has echoes of Petrarch’s Epistolae familiares. The two men had indeed met and, according to Ernest Thomas, were ‘kindred spirits’, united in their love for books and the celebration of learning. In book 3 of his Epistles, the Italian humanist observes that ‘gold, silver, jewels, purple garments, houses built of marble, groomedContinue reading “Petrarch on the love of books”

A language learning tip from the 14th century

While I am preparing a post about the work that inspired the name of this blog – the 14th-century Philobiblon (‘The Love of Books’) – here is a lamentation extracted from the same work about the state of scholarship in the first half of the thirteenth century. In chapter 10, the author Richard de Bury criticisesContinue reading “A language learning tip from the 14th century”

Drink or be scolded therefor, only do it in Latin

I good friend of mine forwarded this to me from today’s Times. Of course, berating a drunkard in perfect Latin is always advisable, except when the inebriating wine has been an Opimian, or the hungover man is too crapulentus, or intoxicated, which gave the English word ‘crapulous’. Incidentally, books are inebriating, too, and one comment about Richard de Bury (1287-1345),Continue reading “Drink or be scolded therefor, only do it in Latin”