Life on the Edge: Marginalia


Just gorgeous…

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

A couple of public close-up sessions recently have prompted these random musings on marginalia – the text and images that occur in the margins of manuscripts and printed books.

Today we don’t encourage students to mark our books in any way, but a whole academic industry has developed around historical marginalia and what they can tell us about how books were used, and how readers have engaged with books (and each other) over generations.

We can analyse and classify marginalia in various ways: text versus imagery; contemporary decoration and annotation as opposed to later additions. However, one of the delightful aspects of marginalia is that they defy easy categorization. While some forms of marginalia were clearly planned, if not executed, by the original scribe or printer, the process of book production in manuscripts and early print cultures did not have a clear cut-off point: it was customary to decorate early…

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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