3

From the printery to the bookshelves

Printed books

The State Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in the United States has two Bibles on opposite sides of the open space on the landing of its entry staircase. On one side there is a copy of a scriptoria-produced version. On the other is a Gutenberg Bible, looking very much like the manuscript version opposite, complete with hand-painted illustrations. It looks very much like one that a poor monk, like our Jacob, might have produced. It represents the mediaeval idea of what a book should look like, and it maintains the tradition of the book as containing the essential knowledge of an educated Christian. The reproduction of what was familiar to scholars and scholarship tends to highlight attempts ...

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