Children's Doodles Found in Margins of Medieval Manuscript
The margins of a medieval manuscript from a convent in Naples, Italy, are decorated with doodles of what are apparently devils, a farm animal and a person that were likely drawn by children, a new study finds.
Children probably scribbled these doodles on the 14th-century manuscript a few hundred years after the book was made, said the study’s author, Deborah Thorpe, a research fellow at the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders at the University of York in the United Kingdom.
The drawings are a rather serendipitous find; Thorpe discovered them by chance while conducting research for another project.
“I was looking through a database of medieval manuscripts online, and I found images of these beautiful doodles in the margins, and to me they looked like they were done by children,” Thorpe said in a statement. “I thought, ‘This is really interesting, has anyone written anything about this?'’ Read more.
Dutch scientists and other academics are using an x-ray technique to read fragments of manuscripts that have been reused as book bindings and which cannot be deciphered with the naked eye. Those fragments may be the unique remains of certain works. Read more
The Codex Borgia / Yoalli Ehecatl is a PostClassic Mexican manuscript which dates from the 13th - 15th centuries. Written in a highly complex pictorial script, the codex recounts the religious beliefs of the Nahua peoples and outlines the ritual behaviors associated with particular calendar dates.
Isaac Newton's Recipe for Magical 'Philosopher's Stone' Rediscovered
One of Isaac Newton’s 17th-century alchemy manuscripts, buried in a private collection for decades, reveals his recipe for a material thought to be a step toward concocting the magical philosopher’s stone.
The “philosopher’s stone” was a mythical substance that alchemists believed had magical properties and could even help humans achieve immortality.
The manuscript turned up at an auction at Bonhams in Pasadena, California, on Feb. 16, where the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia bought it. The alchemy text will be available in an online repository for those interested in the history of modern chemistry, according to James Voelkel, the CHF’s curator of rare books.
The handwritten document contains instructions for making “philosophic” mercury that Newton copied from a text by another known alchemist. Written in Latin, its title translates to “Preparation of the [Sophick] Mercury for the [Philosophers’] Stone by the Antimonial Stellate Regulus of Mars and Luna from the Manuscripts of the American Philosopher." Read more.
5 Things I’ve I’ve Learned While Writing My First Manuscript
Hello and welcome to my first blog
post! I’m Laura – an aspiring writer, as you may have guessed by the title of
this post – and I, like many others, have made a lot of horrible mistakes and
revelations with my first manuscript. While I’m only halfway through my first
draft, being the masochistic, self-embarrassing person that I am, I thought I’d
share what those lessons were.
The first line is hard.
It’s even harder
when you put all this pressure on it that you really don’t need. It’s just a collection
of words, just like the rest of the novel.
Don’t go back and edit.
There were so many times when I finished a chapter
or a scene and then realized: Shit. That’s
not how I mapped that character. Or, oh my god, I just missed out a HUGELY
important part of that character’s backstory.
What I’ve learned
is that it’s the hardest but the best thing
you can do for your novel to just. Keep. Pushing. Through.
You’ve got to grit
your teeth and remember that this is what second drafts are for, because if you
go back and rewrite something every
time you notice a mistake, you’ll never finish the stupid thing.
Outlines can be really fun. Or they can be torture.
This lesson is
kind of unavoidable as a newbie writer. If you’ve never outlined your book
before, you won’t know what sort of outline you like. So you could get 20,000
words into the story (like me), realize you screwed up your outline because you
did it on Word instead of post-it notes, and lose your damn mind.
“Why is everything so disorganized!?” You scream, before slamming your head against the
keyboard for the millionth time.
Take a deep
breath. Stop writing. Redo your freaking outline.
Finish ALL character construction before you start
I didn’t take this
step seriously because I didn’t take my writing seriously in the beginning; it
was just something I was dabbling in which I hadn’t done in years.
But if you’re
considering writing a novel, you have to
finish all your character construction 100% before you can start the novel.
A lot of my characters
have half-finished outlines. So sadly, I’m gonna have to take a break from all
the fun writing I’ve been doing to map them out halfway through the story.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
I’m actually pretty
good at remembering this lesson, but I think every writer finds it invaluable.
You don’t need to
be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald in the writing world to have an incredible work
in your hands – or, well, your head.
Remember that it’s
okay to make the above mistakes, and many more (seriously, I could list hundreds).
Just push the negative thoughts away for a moment, and keep tapping at that
keyboard. Good things are bound to come out of it if you work hard enough.
So that’s all I’ve
got to say on the subject. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to talk about once my
novel is finished and once I move onto the editing phase for my novel. Thanks for
reading this far and I’d love to hear some feedback!
The Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious book that has frustrated code breakers and linguists for a century, will be “cloned” in 898 copies to help experts decipher it.
A small Spanish publishing company has secured the rights to make exact replicas of the manuscript, which is currently locked away in a vault at Yale University’s Beinecke Library.
The copies will faithfully reflect every stain, hole and sewn-up tear in the parchment.
Pages from the book are already available online, but touching the manuscript is an experience the Internet can’t capture, Juan Jose Garcia, director of the publishing house Siloe, told Agence France-Presse.
“It’s a book that has such an aura of mystery that when you see it for the first time … it fills you with an emotion that is very hard to describe,” Garcia said. Read more.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Hieronymous Bosch exhibit, “Visions of Genius,” in ‘sHertogenbosch. I knew Bosch’s works before I became a medievalist, so when I began to encounter strange creatures in the margins of manuscripts, I regarded them with some familiarity.
Both Bosch and the earlier creators of these manuscript monsters, also known as grotesques, knew that the margins, both in life and in art, could be a dangerous place for medieval people. The forests and marshes that surrounded medieval towns were full of menacing animals and sometimes more menacing brigands, and the edges of the world were thought to be home to terrifying people with the heads of dogs or no heads at all, their faces strangely located in the center of their chests. These ideas were due both to a (very reasonable at that point) fear of the unknown and to the fact that European medieval life literally revolved around the word of God- Jerusalem is the center of most early medieval maps, and the further away one got from it, the more deformed things became from the perfection of God.
When you understand the thought process of the average medieval European, finding these strange creatures in the margins suddenly seems par for the course. Because so many medieval manuscripts are religious works, it only makes sense that such grotesques would appear the further away the reader got from the words of the text. I must say though, to modern eyes, some of these grotesques look more amusing than they do terrifying! My favorite has to be the square-jawed bird man in a hood.
(from Edinburgh MS 26, MS 35, MS 2, MS 27, MS 195, MS 304, and MS 43)