Reading Response – Manuscript Studies
Maybe because I have spent the past six months focused solely on a manuscript, there was a barrier in my mind between print and manuscript studies. I had somehow pushed the manuscript away from print, because there is are no printed words in the Dragon Prayer Book. This week’s reading made me reconsider this, especially the Tenger and Trolander reading, which focused on this perceived separation. And, although it seems obvious now, I had not realized that handwritten manuscripts were a part of every single publication until the invention of the typewriter.
While reading through the assigned text from Graham and Clemens, I began to think about the color of the vellum in the front of the prayer book as opposed to the back of the prayer book. Graham and Clemens state that “parchment made from calfskin tends to be whiter or creamier in color and may show a prominent pattern of veins; parchment prepared from sheepskin is often yellowish and may be somewhat greasy or shiny in some areas” (9). In the front half of the prayer book, the pages are beige in color, and the pages in the back of the prayer book are white. But, I don’t think that this quote applies perfectly to our prayer book. This change in color could be because the pages in the back were added later, and/or because the pages in the front were touched more often.
Even though I have been transcribing the prayer book on and off since May, I still get stuck on some letterforms. I have been transcribing the prayer book largely on my own, so I really enjoyed experiencing the transcription struggle with other students. Transcribing continues to be a challenge, but the frequent discoveries often raise more questions than they answer, which I find to be addicting.