Mediaeval manuscripts used as dust jackets


King Harold Day

We have found a really interesting story about how mediaeval manuscripts were used in the 17th and 18th centuries as “stuffing” in the binding of books or as dust jackets.   And it comes from Edmonton, not the one near us, but Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada.

The story starts like this:-  “The book before me is huge and heavy, bound, not in paper or cardboard, but with planks of solid oak, held together by thick cords.   It looks like a prop from a fantasy film. It’s actually a Latin dictionary, published in the early 1700s.”   But here’s the secret:-   “But as old as the dictionary appears, it hides a secret far older.   Inside the heavy oak cover is a parchment liner.    Other pieces of the same parchment are stuffed into the spine, to bind the book block together.   The parchment wrapper is far older than the dictionary:  a medieval manuscript, hand-written on calfskin…

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