Book Detectives: What Can We Learn from a Book without Reading it?

Sharing buttons:

so welcome everyone it's very good to


so many old friends in this

uh me tonight's meeting which is i think

the 28th or the 29th meeting of the

philosophical cafe

tonight we will talk about books but

we'll talk about books in a different

way than we

talked about books in our previous


um philosophers tend to talk about books

as texts tonight we will learn to see


as objects and in doing so or in order

to do so

we will enter together in a beautiful

old collection

in one of those places that some of

us miss so much during the pandemics uh

an old book collections in a fantastic


and once in there we will learn to play

a bit

book detectives under the guidance of

our special guest tonight professor

scott mandelbrot

scott good evening it's very good to see


um together with

grigorevida and alexandrulichu we will

try to ask questions while looking and


to everything that it will happen in

this fantastic library

but first of all i wanted to ask

alexandre lichtou

who was in the library that we are

talking about

to introduce us to the place a bit and

to introduce our guests

tonight alex yes thank you donna

and professor mandelberg is a well-known

figure in the field of early modern

textual history

he wrote extensively on natural theology

biblical criticism

the history of the book and the figure

of isaac newton among other things

but of equal importance for us tonight

is the fact that professor mantebelt is

the librarian of burn and world


the libraries of peter house the oldest

college of university of cambridge

in which he teaches a class entitled the


welcome to our cafe professor amanda


i'm just saying i'm missing a trick that

i need so if you just like to

wait for a second whilst i set something


well this is how book detectives begin

they are hiding

in the dark then i will um i will be

with you

sorry i realized all this lots of

fussing about lights and i haven't

actually got one thing that i really

need which is a

camera um but there we are now this may

no it hasn't yet so yeah okay

do you want to to begin then

i think alex did i just no i was just

introducing you

uh so maybe you would like to send some

words now

or should they i mean um maybe maybe you


tell us a bit about how you could how

you started to see books as

material objects other than mere text

um okay well um

i mean i suppose my my interests in this

come from three

places um one is

um which is probably probably the oldest

is an interest in intellectual history

and therefore an interest

in what one can

find out about

the way in which people thought in the

past which you know

involves tracing in my mind not only

reading what they write but tracing how

they come to write what they write

and thinking about the sources that they


and the way that they developed their


and fairly rapidly it seemed to me and

it seemed to a

relatively large number of intellectual


i suppose in in the course of my career

that um one of the interesting ways of

doing this is to think in terms of what


read and of the ways that they read

um so that's that's one material


in in the history of books i suppose the

second interest

would be um a personal one which is that


i i have for a long time

um acquired books for myself and

therefore um have been interested in

acquiring books that were

um more unusual or better connected with

my my

research than than other books and that

makes you interested again in the

form and format of books as well as in

in their

immediate contents if all you were

interested in the contents of the book


buy the most recent and probably

cheapest edition

um possibly um

though i'll try and show you why that's

not a good idea um

and then i suppose the third reason is


most recent would be because i've um

ended up being as part of my employment

being in charge of a

of a library of um well

books i suppose from the 11th century


um 12th century i suppose well yeah

and end of the 11th beginning of the

12th century onwards

um and that of course makes one uh aware


the importance of um conserving and

taking care of the

the material heritage of implied

in in books by collections of books and


involves decisions about all sorts of

things to do with

their best environment for keeping them


and also of course decisions that one


need to make about conservation which

are always to some extent

decisions about what to preserve and

what to alter

which have to be informed by one's

knowledge of

what people are going to want to look

for in the future

um and in my lifetime not i think in my

professional lifetime but in my

my my my lifetime as a

denizen of the planet earth um i would

say that people's views on that have

changed quite considerably and people's

views have changed

away from providing

for the cheapest and most efficient

means whereby

someone can consult the text of an


to being much more concerned with


um the object uh in as close as possible

to the

to the historical form that it comes

down to us and preserving as much

evidence of that form as as possible uh

for future users and viewers so that

that i

i hope that that gives you some idea


do you do you want me to sort of

do a quick cast round the room so people

can see where i

am that would be great please do that

i'll have to have to unplug all the

things i've just plugged in now to do

that but let's see what we can

since we manage a visit in the library

here is the visit in the library

i'm sorry you can see lots of um lights

and things which aren't normally there

and also lots of screens

but hopefully you saw a little bit i

didn't see what you saw so i

saw a little bit of of of the place as


which is a 17th century

library room um filled mainly with some

16th and 17th century

printed books

so the convention of the game tonight

was that you are going to show us some

of your favorite

and tell us something about what we can


from a book without reading it

yes um

well um there are very various things

that i

i thought that that i could show you

um do you shall we shall we start again

with francis bacon does that

appeal to you donna yes i would love to

see again

the installation and while you are

preparing the camera i'm going to tell

the story

of how i discovered that book i think

in the british library or perhaps before


in in oxford i don't even remember when

i saw it for

for the first time a copy

of the first edition of the of francis

bacon and staracio magna

while i was looking for francis bacon

novo morgana

and i remember my astonishment when i

realized that francis bacon novo morgan

a book that we all learned in school

about and you know it's it's part of the

faculty of philosophy everywhere

part of the part of the teaching and

learning in the faculty of philosophy

so i remember my astonishment when i

realized that francis bacon's novo


doesn't exist like that in the

at the beginning of the 17th century but


appeared for the first time under a very


name and then under a very different

form the form that

scott is going to show us tonight

um you've got to let me screen share

oops i'm sorry i'm going to let you


now you should be able to screen share


sorry that was my fault


this is just extending the suspense it's

not so easy to think

you see a first edition of francis i can

assure you that it's not an easy thing

to find and see

and keep in your hands

now can you see that or do i need to

share my screen first

you need to share your screen first

that's fine sometimes it just does it

automatic as a default but

yeah now we see it right okay


yeah that issue that

i want and i also made you the co-host


what i wanted to do now i hope you can

see it a bit better

yes good um well

um we were thinking about judging books

by their covers and we're thinking about


what one can learn simply from the

covers book

um this is this book is

um indeed the instarazzio magna as you

can see

by francis bacon


i'll just move it up slightly so you can


see that it was given to the collections

of my

college by um the widow of theodore

gulstan who was president of the

college of physicians in london um

and um by uh

but directly by his widow in 1635 so

15 years after its publication in 1620

but what's perhaps most interesting

about it is the

binding that it's in um which uh

tells us that um


the book uh was uh

almost certainly given to theodore


by its author by francis bacon um

and it tells us that through this um


uh guilt

uh impressed stamp of the ball

um which is a feature of um

many books given away by members of the

bacon family not just actually by

francis bacon

but certainly many books given away by

by francis bacon

um and this style of binding in

um what was what used to be much

cleaner creamier limp vellum you can't

really see

the color very well i'm afraid but it's

a kind of cream

cream color of of of limp

or unstiffened barely stiffened


um with uh gilt tooling

restrained guilt tooling and it would

have had green silk ties

to um set off the book and to keep it

together as well this

pattern of binding um is actually very

common in

early 17th century england especially on

books which are being given away

books which are

presents of one kind or another in this


probably a present from the author and

i'll just show you

show you the spine of the book the label

i'm afraid is probably later

but you can you can just see that it's


tooled rather nicely in guilt um

though much of that sadly has worn off

um but this is a

um a present a present with a joke

perhaps implied in its form of


the the pig on the front obviously bacon

but clearly not i mean he could have put

a coat of arms or

something else there but instead he

chose he and his his

his family chose that the way they would

mark their books was was with a pig

um and um so there's that is

an example of something which one can


um from the cover of this book if the

covers didn't survive if it had been

replaced by

a modern binding we'd know um something

about its history because of that


but we wouldn't know everything about

its history by by any means

um and we'd be missing at least one very

important point

we'd also be missing the fact that it


to a small group of copies of this book

all of which are bound in the same way

all of them in fact

presentation copies of one kind or


so again one wouldn't just be missing

evidence about this individual copy

one would be missing evidence more

generally about

both bacon's intentions in publishing

and distributing the book

and about the range of surviving copies

from that edition of the book

so in this case it seems to me that the

book's cover

is actually quite important to us in


not just this copy but also um the

broader edition of the instirazio magna

and in a small way

francis bacon's intentions in writing

that book or at least in publishing that


so i guess one question that arises now


whom was the book bound for in this case

it was francis bacon

but more generally um for whom would

a book be bound was it the author was it

the reader

was it the book several and even more

generally than that how many people were

involved in the production of a book

um well i've got various things that i


share with you which answer that um


um uh um

and i'll just need to rearrange slightly

in order to do that

i thought we could begin possibly

with a book which i suspect i'll show

you several times because it illustrates

a number of points

but with a book in the state in which it


usually leave the publisher

in uh or the book the book shop indeed


just the publisher in

the um 17th century so this as you can


is a is a little book uh and it's book

without any cover at all

um it is um folded the sheets are folded

in fact the sheets are as you can see

uncut so it's quite hard to read this

book at the moment

and they're held together by a simple

single thread which has been stabbed

through the gatherings you can see the


that make up the sheets of the book um i


quite clearly here and stabbed through


and tied in a simple knot so that is

without a cover is how um

certainly a small book like this

um would have left the shop

um in the 17th century

obviously then um i mean it's also the


that some books um leave

the shop in slightly grander form

so i'm not actually sure that this is an


quite an example of what i wanted to

show you i should have brought something

else as well

um this is is as you can see a very

finely bound book very handsome book

um lots of high quality leather

lots of guilt decoration

nice guilt decoration on the spine which

has unfortunately faded

a bit um little

little leather and silver clasps to hold

the book closed

um you can probably yes if i get the

light right you can see gilt edges as


it's a smart smart little book

um whether this book was bound

for its first owner or whether it

was bound in this way by the bookseller

who sold it

i'm not quite sure there's nothing

distinctive about the binding

although it is a high quality binding

and the book itself is although possibly

a little early for what i'm

describing an excellent example of the

sort of book that booksellers did sell

bound uh and bound in this kind of

um attractive christmas present-y way

um but with nothing very special or

specific about the binding

um and that is in this case it's a it's

a book of common prayer with salsa

so it's it's the sort of book that you

might buy

um to carry with you to church um

and the sort of book that you might want

to give away to your children

if you were sufficiently wealthy or

possibly to your wife

or wife to their husband to her husband

um and there are records particularly

from the late 17th century this book

can't have been banned before 1635

because that was when it was published

but particularly from the late 17th

century there are

um records of in the london book trade

and elsewhere

of um people having uh ready bound books

of this kind books of practical piety

bibles prayer books for sale and

and always pretty much always bound with

this kind of

um bling

attached to them because

they were intended to be purchased as


a little bit later on um people

um do start those same records do start

to show

um people selling books um often

uh books that were being sold in bulk


people to buy and distribute to poor

people or to their parishioners

or to their friends and you get

alternative choices for how the book can

be or

can be ordered it can be ordered

stitched as we've seen

it can be ordered in cheap bindings so

sheep or calf

and sometimes it can be ordered in these

um grander bindings

um so you could buy a book um from

the um from the

bookseller bound um

books are also distributed

not just by their authors but also by


bound so this is a book

this book is is again one of a fairly


group of books um which start publishing

in the late 16th century

um this is a a set of um

congratulatory poems produced by the

university of cambridge and printed by

its printer

roger daniel in 1640 um

on the birth of a new child of

uh king charles the first and queen

henrietta maria

and this allows the university press

both to show off some of its


well some of its range of type i'm sure

if i look hard

i failed to mark it oh yes there's an


you can find greek type probably greek

poetry being composed by

cambridge uh um alumni

um probably also now i'm not succeeding

in finding it some hebrew type

anyway this book was bound um by a man

called john holden who's a

cambridge bookseller um and there are a

whole series of

this book and its fellows amongst

late 1630s cambridge

imprints of this kind of of

congratulatory versus

bound in exactly this style again you

can see limp vellum

with some fairly standardized

guilt decoration um

and also see that it it had

guilt edges i hope um

and in this case just a plain spine um

but that is a book uh again being


we don't know to whom this book was

given away it's a book being bound

for presentation um in this case

by the publisher uh rather than by the

bookseller and buy effectively by the


of cambridge

um just to take your uh

example a little bit further again with

the book from the 1630s

this is a book which was bound for the


but the purchaser was an institution not

an individual

in this case peter house in cambridge

who put their stamp very firmly had the

binder maker stamp

that in the 1630s that they put very


on this book which was in fact a book

specially printed for them

and for use in their chapel

so the book is a book of common prayer

but that that isn't specially printed

for them that was obtained from


um but this book which accompanies it

text of the psalms in latin was

specially printed for them

was in fact specially printed for them

by one of the king's

printers in london and

is then sent up to be bound by their

cambridge binder

with this stamp of the institution on it

so that's a an institutional

binding on a book which is specially

made for an institution

um and then we can we have um

potentially plan we can uh break just a

little bit to take a question

from youtube maybe maybe stop

share screen just for the moment so that

we see each other

um because it's a very interesting and i

think it's an important question

uh for our audience so dragosh is asking

on youtube

scott i see you are i see you are

handling the books quite confidently


any obvious protective measures such as


can what can you tell us about the paper


and uh are our books durable or book

books are extremely durable

and one of the best ways to damage books

is to wear gloves

um because you will you lose the feeling

in you at the end of your fingers if you

wear gloves and therefore can

tear paper or damage bindings

leather bindings of all kinds benefit

from handling because

they like being slightly greasy and more

you handle them

the happier they will be as long as you

handle them carefully

and the the the thing i haven't got here

mainly because it interferes

the angle interferes with the camera um

is a cradle to put the books on

um i mean if i were giving you the books

i would probably want you to put them on

a cradle so that you couldn't

open them too far or lean on them too

heavily and would have some weights to

hold them down

um i'm um very used to handling them and


quite confident that i'm not going to do

them any damage

in the way that that i handle them um i

was just going to run

through some choices of a purchaser of a

book if you

are happy with that um yeah we can do

that i just wanted to tell people on

zoom as well that

that we are waiting for questions and


just let us know that you want to ask

something and we will introduce the

question in the discussion

so um many of the books in this library

um belonged to a man called andrew pern



who frequently well this is actually a

very bad example

though he has put his initials there

more frequently he puts ap i'll show you

in a minute on

on in ink on the title page um

the um the college had a book plate made

in 1592

to record the donation so it's easy

enough to know that this is a book that

that belonged to andrew pern or at least

assuming the

book label is in the right place but

we're interested in the covers

and this is a very very very plain calf


made for andrew pern um it's been

slightly restored um i suspect that that

label is late well that label is

definitely later so you should

forget about that it would have a plain

calf spine

plain calf um boards

um the title whilst it was in pern's

library as written

as you can see on the forehead which is

why i think the gilding on the spine is


but but this is a very simple binding no


except for pern's initials and one stamp

in blind in between actually this is

slightly more decorated than some of

pern's bindings this is

at least involved um a payment to a

binder from

who to make that

intervention in what is otherwise a very


and relatively inexpensive binding

whether the next stage up is this book

where you can see um again

ap and blind but with the the binder has

been asked to run a single roll

he's done it made four movements with

his heated roll

to produce um these this

um this uh border

and he's also made a few lines either

with a roll or with a knife

um and again picked up the stitching

and used another tool to put in the


and also and another tool again

similar tool flower tool to put in

some decoration around ap

again you can see the spine is very

plain all this decoration is in blind

um so this is probably the next stage up


pern's decorative work

um and as you can see he didn't actually

write his name in this one

at all probably

about the same sort of cost although

possibly a little bit more expensive

um this book which as you can see is


very plain um

but um where a binder has put

pearl's initials a little decoration but

used gold

gold leaf so a heated tool which has


added gold leaf to the um


to the impressions that have otherwise

been made

in blind of these initials um

so uh that's probably a little bit more

expensive because gold is quite


um and then going on a little bit

further in the choice of the

binder you can see the same binder

i think who made this book

has also been asked to make this book

and in this case perna's gone a little

bit further because he's asked the


to try and make a special tool a unique


not just his initials a and p which the

binder would have had those letters

for lettering more generally but

a tool which will reproduce in guilt

and allow the binder to to set gilding

in the middle of the board


ap monogram that pern is otherwise


at the bottom of his the title pages of

many of his books

so that's that's more expensive because

the binder has to make a special tool to

produce this although it's still in many


probably a relatively cheap binding a

binding for somebody

who's only a poor scholar and clergyman

and not a very rich man

though he has a large library

those are all calf bindings although

they're different colors

um sheep uh is cheaper than calf

parchment which we've also seen being

used on expensive bindings

parchment can also be very inexpensive

um and then of course you can bind

books in second hand parchment

which is very very cheap in the late

16th century indeed because there's a

lot of second-hand parchment

coming onto the market in the libraries

of dissolved monasteries and so on and

old books

medieval books that people don't want

anymore now they've got printing

and you can reuse old parchment

very successfully to bind new books

and we'll meet the owner of this book

who presumably had it bound

in this way or who may have bought it

second hand bound in this way

john merritt um later

in this uh talk as well you can see

actually he paid eight

uh four points for this book so it

really is a cheap


there is one question from christian


christian would like to say it

do you hear me oh hello you're in a nice



yes so professor mandelbrot i i would

like to

ask you something about the role of the


uh if it plays any role in the sense of

the question

that alexandru



highlighting so

regarding the the the binder or the

the person whom the book was dedicated

so to speak

right um well um

if we go back let me go back to

this book um

and this is this is an ex libris it's an

institutional ex libris

it was printed by the university printer

in 1592. i know that because i know you

because i've got the bill that he was

that he sent in and that was paid um

it it's put in by the college after the

books have been given to the college

um pern himself doesn't have a book


actually very few people in england in

the 16th century did

there are um people who obviously who


um book plates um in the

17th century very commonly um

those book plates can record all sorts

of things they can record gifts

which is effectively what this book

plate is doing or they can record


um which is um well and very simply

um you know is doing the same same thing


that modern book plate in the book is


um uh and um

i mean that's again is institutional

ownership but it does i mean individual

ownership is

is just just the same um and yes of

course you can trace

histories of ownership um through book

plates in fact i was going to show you

in a minute or two i will show you a

good example of that


in fact maybe i'll show it to you now um


again this is a a slightly humorous

story about

judging a book by its cover so

if you saw this book which as you can

see is

um a book written by hugo grocerus the

great 17th well 17th century dutch

legal humanist and historian um

and it's actually his edition of a

number of texts about the history of

the barbarian invaders of the roman

empire the history of the goths of

vandals and the lombards

if you saw this book

you would probably um

not be very interested in it you

probably wouldn't

um uh want to

um spend much time on it because you'd

think this is a very horribly rebound

very nasty copy of what is in fact


an extremely common book and you know

you can

look look it up online and you'll have

no you'll have no problems with it

um reading it there um

but the person who had this bound

absolutely horribly in probably about

1970 or 1980

did something slightly strange these are

new end papers

um but they did keep the book plates

that were in the book in this case the

book plate of

charles hudgian's director of china in


um and at the back um a book plate with

the motto philosopher

which in fact belongs to the musgrave


and which is has some manuscript at the


case g um f8

barnsley which is in fact a description

of where it stood in the library of

their at the musgraves house

barnsley park musgrave family's books


you can possibly actually also see what

i think is a bookseller's

pencil markings there the musgraves


family's books were um divided

uh in the 20th century and some of them

were sold in the early 1920s

from a house called tame park in


that included almost certainly included

this book

however what those book plates allow one

to tell about this

book and so what one can tell from its

cover even its new cover

is that this was a book that belonged to

isaac newton

because isaac newton's books um were

sold on block to john huggins

charles huggins father in order to stock

the rectory at china which charles


had just been appointed to

and um this book is listed in the


of the books from newton's library that

were sold to john huggins

and that later passed from uh

into the musgrave family from the

rectory at china

um so those two book plates allow one to

identify this book

fortunately preserved in this otherwise

absolutely horrible covers

they allow one to identify this book as

belonging to isaac newton

um and i can

i'm just having a quick hump in the book

to see if i can find

anything else um that identifies it as

more recently perhaps that ident that

sorry anything else that is older that

might be

isaac newton's so um


well um that

proof correction is probably in newton's


but you wouldn't know that if you didn't

know this was newton's book

and similarly a few pages back

these dog ears are in newton's

were made by newton but you wouldn't

know that either

see there are two of them one also from

the top of the page you wouldn't know

that either if this hadn't

wasn't didn't have those bookplates that

identified this as newton's book

and therefore as the copy that was in

the inventory you'd know that newton had

owned a copy of this book

and you'd know that this particular copy

some things about it that made it a bit

reminiscent of books that newton owned

but without the fact that the person who

had it rebound

had kept those ex libris you wouldn't be

able to be sure that this particular one

was indeed newton's copy of this book

so i hope that that helps answer your

question a little bit

i should mention that christian works at

the battiano library

which doesn't lovely bribery behind him


quite well uh dan garber has a question

then would you like to say it loud sure

hello scott hello don very nice to see


and very interesting presentation in a

few of the uh bindings that you were

talking about

when you were looking on the spine at

the title

you indicated that um the titles were

added uh later

yeah um and um which made me wonder that

when the book was

on um a shelf how it is that people

could have identified

the book if it didn't have a

title on the spine

so the title would have been on the


side of the book biblio again

latina so which is what this book is

it's a latin um so it's

of course easier and cheaper to write

on the edge of paper than it is to ask a


to make this book as you can see has

never had

a label to make a label

for um the book um

it is possible to

title directly to the spine so that you


need to make a label labels also have a

habit of falling off

um but uh and people do do that as well


uh but they don't start doing that at

least in

england until the early 17th century

so and during the course of the 17th


a lot of libraries turned round as it


you can of course write on other edges

as well so if your shelves i haven't

don't happen to have one

um don't happen to have one to hand

but if your shelves aren't tall enough

or you just want to pile the books up

you could write on the bottom edge just

as on the top edge just as well as

the long side edge and indeed andrew

pern did that

um with some of his books um it's

interesting i never it never occurred to


but so the books would have been shelved

with the uh title side out

so that you would see them um yes yes

they they they uh yes that that's right

that's how

that's how they were shelved in the

library i mean you can

demonstrate that they were turned round

the books were turned round

um as part of

well really as part of the construction

of the library in its current form which


between 1637 and 1656.

um by 1656 they had been turned round

and a new catalogue was made with

the shelf marks that reflect that and um

uh the shelf marks would have been on

the spine or on the

again yes let me let me show you this

one again

um although you can't

although you can't see it very well in

this example

um that is actually a shelf mark

put on by a librarian


that shelf mark which was put into this

book in six

no later than 1656

um is a shelf mark from the library once

the books have been turned round and so

these are quite different marks that

that ma

shelf mark relates to the place on an


shelf in a library which no longer

a library room which no longer exists in


in the form in which this that 12 mark

applied to

this shelf mark relates to

um a position that i could actually find


in this library although it may have

changed slightly

because shelves have been added they're

more shelves in the bookcases now than

there were in 1656.

so one of the things that that means or

that it it would seem to imply

is that when books came from the


they were already cut and cut evenly

because if you

well i'm sure that you've you've read

old-fashioned french books

where you have to sit with a knife and

cut it as you're um

as you're reading it and the edge


is not going to be um straight

well i'll go back to the book i started

with this is a book as it comes from the


you can see the edges are not cut these

are rough edges

right and you can see that um

the top edge has not been cut at all and

in some cases the side edge

is also uncut so the person who does the


and who produces that nice smooth edge

is the binder

um and he does it with a very large


which is called a plow

so we may of course later go on to

decorate that

edge as well because once you no longer

need to write on the edge

if you're writing on the spine um it

becomes possible

to use that edge for other purposes

like um oops no i don't want to do that

like um decoration

so this you this edge you can see has


marbled all of these edges have been

marbled this is a late 17th century book

just as some of the edges of the

presentation copies that i showed you

earlier were being gilded

so the book would have come from the


in sheets that were folded but when you

took it to your binder

then the then the edges would have been

cut that's right

and perhaps decorated that's right

thank you there is one question from

professor reddy

shall i speak if you want to yes please

yes well this is absolutely fascinating


beautiful items these books

but when i saw them i realized that all

of these

books are printed

i was wondering if if items

objects which were hand written copied

codexes would qualify as books

from your perspective oh yes and there's

a more general

there's a more general issue here which

is which concerns the notion or concept

of what we can become

because one also can go back even

beyond the codexes which were


say the scrolls long

things book length but not bound

not caught or the stones

the hamurabi's books as we call them

occasionally would they qualify as books

or you can also go to the other

direction suppose

you consider an electronic book which

has never been printed

would they qualify as books from your

perspective or what makes

an item a book in other words

um well i mean strictly speaking

everything that i'm looking at is a


and i would say that all all of my


can apply to any form of codex

so it doesn't matter whether the text is


or or not and it doesn't really matter

how long

the codex is either um

clearly from a textual point of view

uh roles or scrolls and



possibly also other forms of more

durable material

um uh

sheets of bamboo that you can

write on for example um or

even possibly stone the stones of


very obviously um

are and they convey texts

the laws of gorton to take an example

very early example create an example

of the um

of a text which is known and which

exists as inscriptions on

stone um it's definitely a text

in some sense it's a book um


sort of but i don't think it's certainly

not a codex

uh and i don't think it's a book in in

the terms that i'm talking

about it um i don't actually think a


or a scroll is a book in the form that


talking about it either um

and i think um those are books

in the same sense that these codices may


multiple books the most obvious of which

is the codex of any bible which contains

many books

many things which call themselves books

but which is only one

or sometimes more than one but but

normally only one codex

and the same of course can be true of

scrolls they can contain multiple books

not necessarily just just one but in

that's in the textual sense but for my

purposes i'm i'm treating

all codices as as books and we're

talking about the covers of

at the moment we're talking about the

covers of those books

um electronic books of course

sometimes mimic the form of a codex

but more often mimic the form of a


okay i would also have a question on

the direction that was started by

professor reddy so if you think about

um manuscript culture what what what

could you tell us for cement about about


manuscript culture and the invention of

printing because i think i saw a piece

of parchment

in one of the bindings that you were

showing us

so what ah um well um yes i haven't

really got anything terribly

terribly appropriate to hand but um

i i'll show you show you something which

although it's a printed book is


slightly of um

of what we're talking about in fact it's

illustrative of it in a number of ways


this book which as you can see is rather

large um

is is one volume of um

of a printed book printed dictionary

early 16th century book

which was given as we can see from this

little piece of parchment that's been

hammered onto its binding um

it was bound probably in cambridge in

the 16th century and was given to

the library of my college by john lownde

you can see john lamb's

name up there um who had died and had

been a fellow of

the college um this is a

i mean you can also see that it's been

later been titled here on the fore edge

and that it

it has also uh a shelf mark but those

are later


this and represent a stage in the book's

history which is later

because when this was made and the

binding was made this book was intended

to stand

uh on a on a lectern to which

it had been chained there are holes that

actually go

right the way

through you can see it you see the light

those two holes go right the way through

the board

and are the holes for a chain

for some reason the binder put the plate

on the wrong board and then

had to move it it's the same on all

volumes of this book

um but but there are two hulls for a


so this book was chained down onto a


where it's at so you could see its title

like this

that's that and i want a lecture like

that um

in a fifth in a 16th century library in

this college

and we have the shelf lists of that

library and they show

that this printed book was on a shelf

with a whole series of manuscript books

that were similarly trained

but the binder who bound this printed

book also had

plenty of waste manuscript in his

shop uh and he used some of it

to provide the pace down so the

strengthening of

the binding um for this book

um and actually that's in many ways


um well i mean that's a standard use of


um and as we've seen with some of the

these little books that i showed you you

can see that

also taking place there that this is

is waste parchment which actually


um historical parchment now if i can

find the right one

it's being used i mean some of them are

being used just just to strengthen

a binding which is otherwise plain

um if i can find the right one


which i can't at the moment one of

it's probably one i've got out actually

that's probably why

um oh yes you can see that this bite is

this one

this binding's actually made up of two

different bits of parchment

it's got a fairly um

fairly um standard late medieval piece


probably english parchment

being used for the front of the um

the binding but it's been stitched

together much more interesting

piece of manuscript waste um

this is really very early um this is is

is probably um this piece of manuscript

is probably

at least 400 possibly 500 years earlier

than the book that it's binding

um uh you can see

also see that so this this binding has

been made up

of two two pieces of two scraps of


on this very inexpensive book um which

cover hundreds of years actually of


manuscript and library culture that the

the rear piece may not have been written

in england

um the older piece um so

um i mean that's that's some evidence

there's evidence of destruction i mean

obviously there's also

plenty of evidence of continuity i mean

i could

of the things i happen to have to hand

the only

i don't have anything which really shows

continuity in in terms of the manuscript


um because i haven't looked those out

but i have something which shows

a different sort of continuity which is

um the book list that this owner of a


decided to write in the on the blank

paper conveniently provided for him by

the binder

at the back so september the 16th 1629

and out of all my books at doddington

and you can see that he starts with um

he's got

music books and notebooks these paper

books are books

of the notes that he's making at


on both um grammatical and theological

and classical topics

his commonplace book and so on but

they're also manuscript music books that

that he owns in the 17th century um

and then there are a lot of printed

books as you can see

and um


there are then some more some some more

printed mute

music books which are printed music

books rather than

manuscript music books so darland and

tomkins for example

um but there are also more manuscript

music books and then we've got the

contents of his wardrobe as well

um i mean that's that's um

slightly frivolous but but i mean it


that at least in some respects

manuscripts and

and books continue to survive and

continue to be

manuscripts continue to be means of

circulation of information

well into the 17th century for certain

kinds of information

i would like to ask something

historians of philosophy are usually

thought of

as dealing with disembodied ideas

it seems though that they miss something

essential by

ignoring the books in which those ideas

are contained

could you give us an example in which

knowing more about

my material book changed

a certain interpretation about an author

or a prevailing view

maybe in the case of newton for instance

knowing more about the books that he


how did he change the perception of his

works um

well i mean i think knowing these things

complicates one's perceptions of people

because it alters the questions that you


can ask um


whether it really changes

what it changes about what one thinks


an author um

is is more complicated and depends

partly on what level of

involvement one thinks the author has in

the text

as well and in changes that might be

made in the text

um i haven't i mean i have an example


that is sort of relevant to this um but

it isn't unfortunately an example of a

philosophical text in fact i have two

examples which are relevant to this

one is a mathematical text and one is a

historical text

um i mean i could i could show you those

um or i could try and answer your


more directly and abstractly with


to newton if you like i mean i mean

with reference to newton i would say

that you know it's interesting to know

for example that there are some

alchemical books that he

only obtains in manuscript and some that

he obtains in print

so in some cases he's had to get the

book copied in order to have a copy of


and in some cases not i'd also say that

the number of second-hand books that he

owns that are alchemical

books is interesting and tells us

something about

um the efforts and pursuits

of it that he's engaged in um i go

further and in some cases say that there

are there are books which newton marked

there's a few books where newton

recorded the price where sometimes it

clearly indicates that he thought he got

a bargain

um and that might make one reflect

differently on the status of that book

even if newton then uses it in his work

would he have

ever been able to use that book if he

hadn't got the bargain

um so there are those those sorts of

of of questions but i might show you

um some books which which which also

illustrate an aspect of this

of this um but which maintain the theme

of of graduating a book by its cover if

if if i'm allowed to do that would you

let me do that

maybe before this professor garber has

on a point exactly on this

i was going to in answer to gregory's um

question i have i have an example it's

slightly embarrassing but nevertheless

i'll tell it this was

a number of years ago uh when

um donna had been introducing me to um

um to bacon i got interested in the uh

the civilization

and i had a thesis that the civil


was directed at a more popular audience

than um than bacon's um many of bacon's

other works

which of course had been published in

latin and were more

more learned i thought well maybe this

is something that

is directed at a more popular audience

and had found some other comparisons

that that seemed to me act other books

that were

directed at a more popular audience and

i was

visiting at all souls and talking with

noah malcolm and suggested that

and he i think knowing full well what we


find said ah that's an interesting


let's look at a copy and we went up to

his rooms

and he pulled off the shelf of first

edition of the silva savarm

which was a large elegant book with very

heavy paper

it was very obvious that this was not an

inexpensive book

that this was not the sort of book that


um um would be directed at a popular


that's that's one thing that you can

certainly learn

from uh looking at the book itself i


and another very good example actually

which is not

in any sense my discovery it was um

alexander corres and bernard cohen's

discovery um

is of course relates but which is

verifiable if you

look at the books concerned

is the realization that leibniz's


um on

newton's ideas about gravitation in some


depend on the fact that he had been sent

a copy of the

latin optics which

contained a formulation of words

which newton later corrected and so

that he is actually writing about um

a text which newton subsequently and

before the edition was distributed


newton had changed and this is famous

article that

uh kernan coirey wrote about the case of

the missing tan quan

um which is simply i mean simply a stop

press correction

that that and some copies um had gone

out to booksellers and binders

before this correction was made and

leibniz got one of those copies which


um a sheet of one sheet of the book

should have been cancelled

and removed

um another example is exactly the book

we began with namely

bacon's taurati magna that

was completely um

it's in a way you know the 19th century

edition and the 20th century bacon


was uh

obliterating the fact that bacon wanted

his novomorganum to be

part of a composite volume and uh

that the volume looked like that um

it took i mean if you didn't have the

volume volume on your shelves or you

didn't see the volume in the library you


were just acquainted with the addition

of bacon's works that would have been

completely non-transparent

to you and a lot of the baconianism of

the 19th century is basically based on

the false premise that

bacon intended novo morgan to be a

self-stand standing book to be a book

that was you know an individual while it

was not

it was part of that composite book and

in 100 years of scholarship william


and mill and all the others didn't know


um excellent well i'm shall i just

i'm sure you and show you an example of

a book which actually intrigues me

i mean i've got two examples effectively

of the same thing

but which um again and relate

relate to this question


so again and these books i hope all look

fairly similar um they're all

um uh decorated in a pretty similar


um they're all quite horrible in some

ways but but reasonably expensive

um bindings um actually this is

this is the only one which really has

very much of its original spine

left um again forget the label

probably um

so they all they all roughly look look

the same

um and in fact they are all the same

in the sense that they're they are

actually all copies

um though with a different title of the

text which is in this book

the grand cabinet council's unlocked

translated into english

from french by robert codrington

and in

okay that's the wrong one

actually they are those two are the

grand cabinet councils unlocked but this

one has

the variant title the memorials of

margaret of valois first wife to henry

iv king of france and navarre

now you'll find that the memorials of

um the ground cabinets councils unlocked

or the memorials of margaret

valois if you look it up in england the

english short title catalogue

translated by robert codrington um was

first published in 1641 and you'll see

slightly puzzling history of the book it

seems to have been reprinted an awful


um you won't find actually any of

these three books or in fact this

fourth book in english the english short

title catalogue

um and the reason for that is that


textually they are all unique

although they are as you see very


dedication to the true lover of all good

learning thomas clifford

dedication to the true lover of all good

learning the truly honorable francis


this to the truly noble the true lover

of all good learning and religion

richard blackwell

and this to the true lover of all good

learning again the truly honorable sir

edward heath

now there are other differences between

these books




and 1660

but they're actually all the same

book this is an example of

although they look textually they look

different in some ways they have

different dates of publication

the sheets are all from the same run

they are being reissued

and sent out as gifts with with the only

change being made

um at the top of the preface in each


these are editions of what with a print

run of one

um being put together the only thing

that is changing is the title page and

the dedication

and quite what is going on there and you

can see not even really the style of the


that is is being changed although they

are clearly intended for presentation

what is going on here i do not know

i haven't been able to look at all the

copies of this book

some of them exist do exist as a normal


but it it it almost look it's either a

very complex effort of the author

to win patronage or it's some very

strange form of gift giving

which is going on um around this this

single book but it's

it's complicated and um

i don't quite know what to make of it

i've got a better idea

in the case of this book again bound for

presentation and you can see

um pretty much not quite identical but

very very similar i mean basically

identical bindings

the same tools being used in a slightly

different pattern

and these are the tools of a cambridge

binder at the beginning of the 18th


this one is dedicated to dudley cullum

and i think there may be other copies

dedicated dudley column

um it's the second part of the art of

sailing by the logarithms

by daniel newhouse published in 1701

this one is not dedicated to dudley


it's dedicated to the master of saint

peter's college in cambridge

and it's actually one of several copies

made specially for presentation

to cambridge colleges oh yes and it also

bears the dedication to doubly column

so this is an added leaf

unlike in the other cases where the

dedication is unique

um this is an added leaf and there are


copies in cambridge in other cambridge

colleges dedicated similarly

so here the author is distributing his

books as presents

and making them that little bit more

special by having a printed

um dedication leaf added

but he's having other copies bound

um in exactly the same shop and in

exactly the same way

um whether or not so there must be

again hierarchies of presentation i

think going on there

um but that adds a slight complication


um what exactly how stable are these

texts that we're looking at

actually this was a wonderful example of

the unicity of the printed book

that was one of the points we wanted to

make today

you have nicely proven that each book

no matter what the text is inside even

if the text in principle should be


it's unique and in sometimes

sometimes very very very seriously


from other copies of the same the same


we do have a i should say that it's very

difficult to find that

information in library catalogues um i


it's possible to find some of that

information but but by no means all of


and actually one of the codringtons that

i showed you one of the um

the margaret of valois books i'm afraid

those are my books not the college's


and one of them

used to be in estc and now isn't because

i acquired it

from a library in america

which was sold so an institutional


which was sold um and

um at that stage it was the only and it

was recorded as the only known copy of

that edition

um unsurprisingly because it is and that

edition only had one copy i think

um but it's no longer in the stc because

cstc surprisingly have removed the

records of that library

um so so you can't find that book

described online anymore whereas you


when i bought it you could

i have a question on youtube that is

very interesting from mateos montero

and the question is can you tell us how

the modern reader

or the potential buyer of the book made

sure about the authenticity of the text

um because you know for example there

were many versions of classical and

philosophical texts that circulated

among readers

was that a concern for the 17th century


um yes it's the answer

i'm um

i know i'm not

um i i can give you some good answers to

this question

but i may need to get up to do it i'm


um right maybe while you are doing that

we can collect more questions from

our uh audience on the zoom or the


so that we give you time to


find the example i i suspect i've got

an example yes i have an example here i

need one more

just let me get up for a second

do we have um questions

or comments or things to collect

so far

because of course this question about

the ethnicity of the book

and the authenticity of the book opens

up a whole theme

of forgeries and book forgeries and book


and so on we thought at some point that

that might be


an interesting thing to discuss


okay um

well many 16

many early many 15th and early 16th

century books answer your question

are aware of your question and also


aware of um the need to help the binder

who um and they simply tell you

they tell you at the end of the book

what you should find

in the book so this you know

tells you that you should find


abcdef etc

um in the book um

and that uh all and it tells you

how many how many leaves you should find

in those gatherings except for the last


where you should find you find a

different number of leaves

in the gathering so this book tells you

precisely um i mean it tells you

physically what it

what it requires to have in order to be


complete so that's one um

one possible way of thinking about how

a reader knows something is textually


a slightly different and more common um

form of concern of treatment of that



is the presence in books of things like


so errata leaves um which

tell you two things they tell you both

the mistakes that the printer has made

and the fact that somebody has gone

through the text

looking for those mistakes and therefore

presumably that you can be confident

that whether or not you correct these


um what you have is otherwise a

textually correct

copy of the book um i'm

i'm not sure what level of confidence

that necessarily inspires but

perhaps it inspires some

um but i mean clearly people

you know people made mistakes one can


buy books now printed and bound in

the 16th or 17th centuries which are


and which were incomplete when they were

bound not they're not incomplete because

somebody's damaged them or taken

something out of them

they've just always been incomplete and

similarly one can buy ones

one can find examples in libraries that

are incomplete

and one can find examples um also of

people binding the sheets in the wrong

order and

you know all every mistake that can

occur always

does occur how about that so

sorry alex i'll just i

just wanted to ask on this note uh how


then the bibliographic description than

find online on sites like estc and so on

and so forth all the databases

of diverse libraries in order to see

what you just shown us

do you have to look at the book or you

know would suffice to

do a search on google


well in in theory

a description given in a union catalog a

good union catalog

like the english short title catalogue

in theory that will be

correct in practice

um any catalog is only as good as the

cataloguers who've made it and and

the more sources of information you have

the more likely you are to find that

your information conflicts in one way or


so even a good union catalogue will have

mistakes in it

the commonest mistake it will have is a

library claiming

that it owns a copy of a book when in

fact it owns a copy of a different book

that's a very easy mistake for somebody

to make if they're in a hurry

but the person who produces the first

record should have checked whether the

book is complete in the form in which

they've described it

but that of course is difficult if you

haven't got access to other copies of

the book

so um

yeah i mean it's difficult and and the

existence of electronic surrogates

because i

i know you want to talk about electronic


um and that we should talk a bit perhaps

about facsimiles as well

the existence of of those doesn't

necessarily help

because they are very frequently


particularly the ones prepared for


which represent a very large number of

the surrogates available

because they often

weren't prepared very carefully and and

for example failed to fold out leaves

that fold out

failed to um well and have other have

other problems they also didn't check

whether the copies they were digitizing

were complete copies of books

so again you know they they they

digitize the copies that libraries

allowed them to

digitize um and of course

no of course our knowledge will increase

and we'll have more digital copies

available and you'll be able to make

more choices

i mean i i found i was doing some

research a little while ago on the


newton's optics

and i found an one of newton's own

annotated copies of the optics online

in the library of mcgill um

university in canada which had digitized

it it's one of

i think 16 copies which have been


it was rather nice to find that copy

because john harrison who compiled the

library catalogue of isaac the catalog

of the library of isaac newton

and tried to locate surviving books from

newton's library

hadn't been able to find that and mcgill

had made no song and dance about the

fact that they had digitized this book

i only found it because i was looking at

every single digitized copy online

because i was trying to make make

comparisons between them

so no that was nice nice discovery to


and it wouldn't have been possible

without the digitization program at


but it was an entirely accidental


tell us what do you prefer between a

facsimile and a digital copy of the book

and why okay well

let me show you a couple of facsimiles

um i'll show you ideally i'll show you


three facsimiles which have different

forms although

two of them are facsimilies of the same


um so

let me start with the book who's a

wrather i just showed you

in some senses um this book is a

facsimile i mean it's a facsimile

only a little bit more obviously

actually than the sense in which every

book that you

look at is a facsimile and that is that

the type

that reproduces the anglo-saxon text

here the text of the laws of england

um together sorry the text

sorry the text of the laws of england is

also published by the same author

this is not the text of the laws of

england this is the text of beads

history of the english

uh people um uh

is here being reproduced in 1643 in

cambridge by abraham wheelock

um from using a type which

um for the anglo-saxon which emulates

the manuscript of the

anglo-saxon manuscripts he was using to

edit the text and that his

deed which emulates the type uh the

first anglo-saxon type cut

in the 1560s 1570s

for the first for the printing of

anglo-sax first printing of anglo-saxon

in england

uh again based on manuscript um

as such it's it's a little bit different

from the um

the italic letter form of the roman

which is based on

letter forms used by roman stone cutters

so one is

but but in both senses these are

facsimiles of

in some form they are efforts to mimic


um the appearance of something else in

one case manuscript in one case

um stone epigraphy

and clearly actually i'll show you

another one

facsimile is something which

which um early modern authors were also

interested in this is actually a book

of a later book republishing the


specimen of manuscript that were made

for the publications of the oxford

antiquity thomas hearn

in the early 18th century and this is

the character of a famous manuscript

of the acts of the apostles in the

bodleian of which hearn was the first

editor of the text

drawn from that particular manuscript

so those are those are contemporary uses

of facsimile

show you another facsimile

um this is obvious this is um well what

is this book

um is this a book published in 1649 the

civil wars of england

dedicated helpfully to jehovah

and reprinting the earlier survey of

england's champions

um is this a 17th century book

uh it looks quite like a 17th century


um nothing to tell you that it

that it isn't a 17th century book so

let me leave you with this with this

question is this a 17th century book

a copy of the civil wars of

england published in 1649

and i'll ask you the same question about

this book is this a 17th century book

the civil wars of england collected by

john lester

published in 1647

and which we can also turn the pages


my internet connection is good enough uh

well that's helpful um

yes and again you see it's dedicated to


um and it has uh

it then has i think i showed you that

one actually as well

um the illustrious and right honourable

robert earl of essex

and so on so our firstly are these

same book and secondly um

what are we looking at in each case

what what do people think

over here well it's obviously not the


book but it reproduces it so well

that you might think that uh you don't

have to look at the original book

anymore sorry w which of the two

is that well i'm afraid it was written

there that it's a reprint of 1880.

oh i'm sorry i showed you i cheated

didn't i i

i i showed you what had been written at

the front yes

you were able to see that yes it's it's

indeed it's uh

actually i it it it's a 19th century

i showed you one 19th century reprint

1830 i think actually um uh

which bears nothing to say that it was

um printed in 1830 or indeed that

that it's a reprint um but which clearly

is and if you can see the paper

it's absolutely obvious it's not quite

so obvious from the type although

the type is different too so yes one of

those is a 19th century reprint

facsimile reprint of the book and the

other of course

is um a 21st century

fact digitization of a microfilm


prepared in the 1970s of a 17th century


that is what you're looking at when you

look at

oops uh

when you look at this

come on when you look at this what

you're looking at is a

is a 21st century digitization now

actually reprocessed into a new

new browser so the second edition of a

21st century digitization

of microfilm made in 1975 roughly

um of a 17th century book

but it doesn't tell you that it doesn't

tell you that anywhere on here

which is really quite scandalous it just

tells you that the latest iteration is


of this digital presentation

so it's obscuring its bibliographical


from from you and you have to get get at


quite complicated for you to get at that


so there's nothing in the details if you

go up

in the details of the digital record

full text and the details yeah

no the other one the details after

the devil is in the details does indeed

tell you that its

origin is a microfilm but it doesn't

tell you that explicitly

it only tells you that if you know that

it was umi's

microfilm of 17th century english books

that these were filmed from

so no it it it doesn't tell you

and it doesn't tell you either that the

the digital platform

the images have been repackaged in a new

digital platform it just tells you the

platform is 2019

so it is it is all sorts of facts about


sorry could you could you still

click on the details column there

for us to see


what it contains so


tells you nothing it tells you that it's

a reproduction of a copy in the

huntington library

it tells you that it had a real position

so yes it tells you that it was a

microfilm once

but only if you bother to read down that

and infer that from in fact it says it

has a real position

um it tells you that it was last updated

in 2020

but it doesn't tell you it doesn't give

you an accurate bibliographical history

of the document that you're seeing at


it's very unsatisfactory

i suspect the majority of users of this

database are unaware of the fact that

they are seeing

images taken 45 years ago or or even

older actually

scott you just nailed another nail in

the coffin of our hopes that we can do

research online during the pandemics

there is one question on youtube which

still relates to

um to uh it relates to fake

it is a followed by by mateus montego

and he asked whether there are also

books that have

can't have a fake or misleading coverage

that would try to hide what's what's

in what's inside oh yes um

well yes of course there are books that

that that are like that

um i

don't happen to have any to hand um

uh i mean there are many books of course

whose cover tells you nothing about

what's inside they're just

it's just a cover and i've shown you

several of those already

um i mean the closest example i have

i have of that to hand is this book

which i must show you

because it's very nice

so this is a very the this book which

which indeed tells you nothing about

what it is on its cover

um slightly strange shape but it but it

looks like a nicely bound

copy of um an in

a well it's in a nicely but nice 17th

century english

binding um and it's an original binding

in fact

um it's it's an original binding

uh made for the stationer luke fawn

who was giving the book which is why

it's nice binding

to um the master of peter house for the

college library

uh lazarus seaman who is one of luke

fawn's best customers he's a major book


but of course the book as you can see if

you read the inscription the book is

the book is a chinese almanac it's not

supposed to be bound

in um gilt morocco and

by an english binder it's um and it's

not supposed to be given away in

1645 it's supposed to be thrown away

in 16 the second half of 1627 which is

when it stops being useful

um so i'm this this is certainly a book

which isn't um

which isn't advertising what it is from

its cover

um and which is

in this particular form probably the

only example of that book

to survive so i mean there's probably no

other example of that book with

with bound by this binder and this this

binder would be

i mean in theory at least identifiable

um uh the the vogue for chinese books in

england is a little bit later actually

this is the earliest

um the earliest recorded

chinese book in a cambridge library

so so in a sense that that answers the

question but it's not intending to


whereas of course you could intend to


um i mean i i acquired

um the other day um a book from a

a french reasonably well known early 16

late 16th early 17th century french

library um

which contained

contained bound within it um

an addition of hugo grocious's poems

from which the title page had been

removed and

i assume the title page was removed

because of gracious

by that stage was on the index

and the book doesn't reveal that it

contains gracious poems at all

in no no way it has a title on the spine


it has um a list of the contents

but it it includes all the rest of the

books that are bound together but not


so that is that is possibly an intent to


um or an intent to preserve from prying

eyes anyway what's in one's library

um and censorship is one of the things

that promotes that obviously there are

other reasons that

promote that including the desire to

have fun

um but um so yes there are books whose


deliberately mislead or or

or accidentally mislead

we have one question on this on youtube

and then

professor garbo has a note on this

so on youtube we have a question from

erodicasan who wants to know

what we can learn from a book or whether

we can learn from

a book without reading it reading it if

it is

it has been censored censored

um so what can we learn in terms of

censorship and then

um i think personal garbage has a note

on the same


yes hang on hang on a second

and the answer straightforward answer is

the way in which you can know whether a

book has been censored

is whether it tells you and that does

involve a small amount of reading

so that this book for example

has been censored

and it even has a reproduction in print

of the sensor's

signature that is this is one of the

volumes of the

the antwerp polyglot bible all of which


have the the statement of

correctness of um the editor of the

bible benito arias montano

um uh and his mark

uh and of course he he was not only the

editor of the bible he was

um an official censor and by

marking the book in this way he is

demonstrating that it has

um the approval of of the index

um and um which is unsurprising given

that it has the patronage of the king of


and everything else um but um

so i'm in one way of telling whether a

book has been been censored is whether

it has

a census um imprimatur of one kind or


um in which case it has been passed um

you will find the same manuscript


um in some books which have officially

been through the hands of a sensor

so which have been censored for example

on importation

um or in some other way

during their passage through the book


obviously you'll also find books which

have been censored

most commonly by people crossing off

the names of authors or obliterating the

names of authors sometimes also by

textual intervention um sometimes as i

indicated in my comments earlier by

tearing pages out

um by their readers um or by their


um and that and of course the

publication of

um uh official um the official work

the publication of the index is designed

to enable you to know

if you should censor the books in your

library and how you should censor them

if you are a good um a good tridentine


and and so so you yes i mean you can


you don't need usually need to read the

book to see if it's been

censored if it's if it's a heretical

book because it will tell you

and if it isn't a heretical book and

it's been published by somebody

uh printing in under the jurisdiction of

of the holy office or of the

congregation of the index it will it

will tell you

because it will have a printed statement

of that effect and professor garbel

you know to come back to the to the

earlier question about

books with falsified titles and books


hidden um content they're a famous

instance of this of course

is spinoza structures theological


which was published not only anonymously


with a false city name and a false


um on it uh but in addition to that

um recently the the institute for

advanced study at princeton

got a large collection of um

spinoziana that included a

number of copies of the tractatus

theological politicus

that were even more hidden

so you open it up and there will be a

completely different

title page and there there'll be 15 or

20 pages of a completely different book

and then you'll come upon the text of

the choctaw

theological politicus somewhere


oh maybe a quarter of the way into the


so that you have to know that the book

is there

in order to um to find it

yes one of the reasons why i brought

this little book out

as well as to function and for the uses

i've already given

was exactly the same

very much the same as dan has just said

because this is a book

um although it's a book in the chat in

a book in italian and it really is a

book in italian

um as you can see and it claims to be

printed in naples

it is in fact written by andrew fletcher

of soltune

and was in fact printed in edinburgh

and isn't really

about spain but is really about

critical political theory with regard to

as much as anything

to um the prospective union or otherwise

of england and scotland

um so i mean as dan says there is plenty

of um


well there's plenty of playing around

with with these

issues why why would he have written it

in italian

just to hide the content well

it's it i mean it is i mean

it it it it's some

uh it's a complicated joke i think

and the idea that somebody because of

course somebody in naples

which is one of the possessions of the

king of spain be writing critically


the relationship between naples and


um so it's it's a sort of analogy and

it's a sort of joke and it's

and it's also of course a piece of


um display as well yeah

and it certainly would have been it

would have been um intelligent

well italian was a language that

cultured people could read and so it

would have been it would have been

accessible to an appropriate audience

just one more point on digitization

um do you think that a good digital

edition of manuscripts

let's say the newton project makes a

printed edition of the same manuscript


um just let me find something to share

and i'll i'll do that


let me just add to grigore's question uh

because we had a kind of exchange very

short brief exchange

in which i said it's impossible to make


a sort of addition of newton's complete


and he said no it's not so that's the

that's a possible background can we make

a printed edition of newton's complete

work or is it better to have a

digital edition of mutants everything

that he ever wrote


if leibniz is possible then i think

newton is also

possible lightnings may not be possible


but why but why either or uh

why why not uh the boat uh did

uh not have them both well

why this difference um

i mean if we look at what i put on the


this is some sort of scrap of

various various scraps of newtoniana and


these have been edited they've been

edited by tom white's side

they haven't been edited in the form

that they appear here

so in some cases they appear simply as

footnotes in whiteside's edition in some

cases their texts

that whiteside used um they relate as

indeed this rather helpful description

which um

oh it seems to be written by nicolo

jucciardini and me

tells you um is is um

uh you know they're related to other

manuscripts of newton which are also


um difficult to use i wonder what

happens if we go there

that's what happens and you probably

can't even see it um

i mean you can do all sorts of things

with these this

this um with a digital edition apart

from anything else you can probably

eventually manage to read it if you play

around with it enough although i

usually find that i can't read it when

it's magnified enough because i lose the

ability to control it on the screen but

that's another matter um i mean yes one


one could reproduce at some level

all of these fragments and all of the

these versions um uh

imprint um i'm not sure what one would

would learn um from it um

oops that's exactly what always happens

with me um

uh no i mean i wanted to i wanted to go

back which isn't



i mean clearly clearly this

even with this sort of thing doesn't

substitute for a proper edition of the


apart from anything else it it still

requires you to be

um pretty conversant well it requires

you in this case to be able to read


um and it requires you to be pretty

conversant with newton's notation and

with all sorts of other things

and a good edition of the text may make

that slightly less obscure

um obviously also a good edition of the

text will make

apparent what is concealed here even

though it's

you're given hyperlinks that help you

which is relationships between

manuscripts and texts and relationships

between drafts

um and the digital edition won't

necessarily substitute for that so so i

mean yes in an ideal world

you probably want to have both

um although of course you don't have to


a printed version of the edition you

could present that electronically as


but but just having a good browser and


the manuscript

is probably not enough um

or not enough for anything which is


but then you see i'm not sure that i

think it's enough for a printed book


i've been trying to suggest to you that

you you might you might want more

information than is given to you by a

good browser and

photographs of the printed book

um last last question from our youtube


is um is by

carmen buku which asks which is the

newest acquisition of the library in

terms of this

kind of books if you are

comfortable with with uh telling us

i've i've shown it to you although it

wasn't that new

um i mean it's it's a little bit over a

year old i haven't

haven't bought it's this this cambridge

book of

cambridge congratulatory versus in a

cambridge binding

um that's that's the the i

i bought that um for the library i think


february 2019 um

and um and i we've we've acquired some

things since then but but nothing

that that fits quite as as well as as as


um i wouldn't have bought this book if

it hadn't been in a in a in a cambridge

contemporary cambridge binding if it

hadn't been an example of what it was i

also bought it though

um because it was a book

issued during the vice chancellorship

and in a sense with the publication of

john cousin who was master of peter


and we didn't have it so i bought it for

reasons that were both textual and

um to do with its cover

but i i probably wouldn't have bought a

copy without the binding

i certainly wouldn't have paid as much

money as i did

you're muted then yes okay

uh scott thank you so much for um

allowing us to

enter again in the library even if

in this virtual format it has been a

wonderful evening

we have seen a lot of marvels and there

are a lot of very interesting

questions on the on the table

of which to me the most important is how

are we going to do research in the

following months

but when you are allowed to travel of

course you must come and visit

visit the library and visit the books

themselves which will be much more

enjoyable than seeing them in this form

but so far

we have seen some of them we have had a

glimpse of them so that

thank you very much for this and thank

you all for

uh being with us tonight both on zoom

and on the youtube um

it has been a it has been a wonderful


and investigation it was good to play

book detectives together

scott thank you thank you see you next


bye bye