Books, glorious books!

Alriiight geeks? I just wanted to show you all a little something special to brighten up this awfully miserable Sunday evening…

Isn’t this just AMAZING? It’s the opening leaf of a medieval manuscript copy of the Comedy, which was made for the Strozzi family. (For those of you – like me – who don’t know much about the Strozzi family, they were seriously big business in Florence in the Middle Ages).

Unfortunately, this little beaut isn’t in Leeds. I found it on DanteOnline. But you’ll all be thrilled to learn that I’m in the process of rifling through the Dante archives at the Brotherton Library and will, in due course, be filling you all in on the treasures that we hold in bonny old Yorkshire, so be sure to stay tuned.

I chose this MS to showcase because it’s so beautifully illuminated with illustrations and borders, etc. but DanteOnline has so many more digitized manuscripts that you can (and should) ogle over, and what I like the best about their website it that most of the manuscripts have accompanying transcriptions of the text. Sometimes it can be a bit of a mission to try and read the scribe’s handwriting when using medieval sources, so this makes it a lot more painless. It’s a much more exciting experience of reading Dante than simply using your Oxford Classics editions.

I was lucky enough to be able to work on books like this in Manchester’s John Rylands library, and I discovered things that had probably never been discovered before, like reader annotations and little doodles in the margins that had probably been there for centuries. Unfortunately, as I don’t own the rights to the images, I can’t post them on here. But Manchester University’s Digital Dante Project should be going live within the next few weeks, so I urge you all to check it out as soon as you can. I think it’s spectacular, but then again I would, since I worked on it…

Sarah x


1 Comment

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One response to “Books, glorious books!

  1. Isemay

    I know this is old, but I just have to say THANK YOU for linking the danteonline site. I’m researching a calligraphy script and wanted to use a Dante manuscript and have spent hours looking for something. This is a big help 🙂

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