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Raymond Clemens

Forfatter af Introduction to Manuscript Studies

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A fascinating introduction to the most mysterious medieval work of all time. The snippets of history behind its few known owners, the manuscript dropping off the map for hundreds of years, and the ominous little letter written by Voynich's wife shortly after his death just add more layers to the mystery, and make me wish I could follow this book back in time. If the opportunity ever presented itself, it would be enough to see who wrote it and why.

With no background anywhere near that of the greats who have scratched their heads over this, I'm still left wondering, as always, whether the Voynich is some sort of highly obscure, occult text or a lucky man's trip through an alien landscape. I'd love to think that the otherworldly plants exist somewhere out there that we have yet to discover, perhaps because we're not ready for it yet, and that all the text is meant to tell us how best to navigate such an environment. Or maybe it's a collection of arcane rituals that may or may not have any impact on human lives. The missing pages come to mind - a whole chunk out of the "herbal" section, along with a few missing from the possible "recipe/usage" section, which could be a few key plants taken out of the picture by someone who knew them. (Kircher, perhaps? I still find it strange that anyone would send him an entire book overseas asking for a translation, when it could so easily get lost in transit along with any promising results. Plus, no answer from Kircher was received in the end.) So much mystery, and there's a chance that some of the necessary answers are simply hiding in plain sight - in the pages of the Voynich itself, a pile of artifacts in some private collection, or even a stack of unsorted documents in a museum archive. Makes me wish I had gone into a field that allowed me to pore over ancient books every day.

At the same time, as much as I want the mystery to be solved, I love that it remains unsolved. No other work that I know of has captivated people from so many walks of life, across so many centuries and generations, despite not a single word of it being understood. By the very puzzle of its existence, it brings people together - and I can't help but wonder whether its nameless writer, lost in the endless march of time, might not have intended this in the first place.
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Myridia | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jan 19, 2024 |
Several years ago, Yale University, which holds the Voynich Manuscript, released hi-res scans of the Voynich Manuscript to the public on the internet. Since then, a number of low quality prints have been available in bookstores. Some were just reprints, some high quality attempts at reproductions, some e-books (people shelling out 99¢ for something they could get for free), and some accompanied by earnest, but sophomoric, attempts at a translation.

Thus when the Yale University Press finally undertook to release a nice edition in 2016, it was a big deal. The images are pretty crisp and clear. The many foldouts are expensively reproduced. The introductory material and the scholarly appendices are interesting, though too short for an expert, they are perfect for a Voynich novice.

Anyone interested in the Voynich Manuscript should buy this as a handy reference. In 2017, Watkins published a similar facsimile in a smaller, less-expensive version (about half the retail price).

Note, it is not a straight up facsimile (like an Indy grail diary you can buy online), and the images are reproduced at their actual size, so don't buy it looking for blow-ups of the pages. They have an internet for that.

If you are a Voynich Manuscript fanatic, get the Yale version first. If you are a Voynich Manuscript novice, get the Watkins version first and work your way up to the Yale version.
… (mere)
tuckerresearch | 3 andre anmeldelser | Sep 8, 2017 |
This oversized, hardcover reprint of Beinecke MS 408, commonly known as the Voynich Manuscript after Wilfrid Voynich who purchased it in 1912, makes for a nice addition to anyone's collection. As Raymond Clemens writes in the preface, "This facsimile strives to reproduce as much of the experience of leafing through the original as possible. Each photograph in the facsimile section is reproduced at roughly the same size as the original page in the Voynich Manuscript" (pg. xvi). The essays following the enigmatic fifteenth century manuscript examine the earliest owners, Voynich the buyer, physical findings, cryptographic attempts, alchemical traditions, and the world's most mysterious manuscript, along with a chronology of the document. Deborah Hakrness, author of the introduction, writes, "This collections of essays, and the facsimile of the Voynich Manuscript that accompanies it, do not attempt to arrive at definitive answers to the many perplexing questions that remain about the text. Instead, they invite the reader to join us at the heart of the mystery as we strive to better understand this complex book and its history" (pg. ix). Those interested in the esoteric or bizarre will find this a great addition to their collection.… (mere)
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DarthDeverell | 3 andre anmeldelser | Mar 5, 2017 |
This is probably the best one volume introduction out there to the study of medieval manuscripts and palaeography. Clemens and Graham offer a thorough and learned guide to the process of manuscript preparation, production and binding; to the reading, transcription, sourcing, editing and cataloguing of manuscripts and most important hands; and to some of the most common genres of medieval manuscripts, such as Bibles, liturgies, Books of Hours, charters and cartularies. It's beautifully and generously illustrated throughout with full-colour examples taken from the Newberry and Parker libraries, and while sometimes one could wish that some of the images were a little larger (even those which take up the full page!) in order to see some of the fine detail, this is still undeniably a wonderful resource.… (mere)
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siriaeve | Apr 14, 2013 |


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