Category Archives: Erik Kwakkel

The Beauty of the Injured Book

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) While our eyes are naturally drawn to pages filled with color and gold, those without decoration can be equally appealing. Indeed, even damaged goods – mutilated bindings, torn pages, parchment with cuts and holes – can be highly attractive, as … Continue reading

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My Week of Lecturing in Oxford

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) It is the evening of Thursday 27 February, 2014, and at the moment I am sitting in The White Horse being stared at by Inspector Morse, who frequented this pub back in the day – and who seems … Continue reading

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What is the Oldest Book in the World?

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) The past few days I have been preoccupied with a deceptively simple question: “What is the oldest book in the world?” Having done some looking around I can now report that while somewhere on this planet, in a … Continue reading

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Where Are the Scriptoria?

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) This blog connects to two earlier entries in medievalfragments: Irene O’Daly’s recent blog on how scribes are depicted in medieval art (here); and Jenneka Janzen’s assessment of how we are to understand the “physical scriptorium” (here). Something struck … Continue reading

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Stamp of Approval: A Paper Snippet and the Spanish Inquisition

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) This blog entry focuses on a book fragment I encountered in Leiden University Library earlier this week while studying twelfth-century material with my research team. As discussed in an earlier blog, after the invention of printing … Continue reading

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Voices on the Medieval Page (1): The Reader

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) This is the first part of a series highlighting instances where medieval individuals added information to an existing book, either right after its production or centuries later. What precisely did scribes, readers, booksellers and librarians scribble … Continue reading

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A Hidden Medieval Archive Surfaces

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) On my Tumblr I recently posted two entries devoted to a remarkable discovery made in the Book History class I am co-teaching with Paul Hoftijzer for the Book and Digital Media Studies programme at Leiden University. It concerns 132 … Continue reading

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Making Books for Profit in Medieval Times

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) The novelist L.P. Hartley once said that the past is like a foreign country: things are done different there. What I find most remarkable about the bookish slice of medieval society that I study is not … Continue reading

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The Proud Reader: Showing Off the Medieval Book

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) When I started this post I set out to answer a very simple query: what is the oldest photograph we have of a real reader interacting with a medieval manuscript? The quest was sparked by a 19th-century photograph … Continue reading

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My First Year on Twitter: How I Became @erik_kwakkel

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) I signed up for Twitter almost a year ago to the day. I had heard of Twitter, of course, but I connected the medium to such messages as “I am so bored of this life!” and “I just … Continue reading

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