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Re: Early Paper Books?
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Early Paper Books?
- From: Dorothy Africa <africa@LAW.HARVARD.EDU>
- Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 14:00:49 -0500
- In-Reply-To: <X000000006f4f460@MHS>
- Message-Id: <199802021901.LAA23309@lindy.stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: The list for all the book arts!" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Just to throw in another item for the stew. I looked at David
Diringer's The Book before Printing over the weekend to see what he had
to offer on the question. He dates the triumph of vellum/parchment over
papyrus in the west to the fourth century (AD). He does look at early
survivals from the regions of Syria, Asia minor, etc. but often refers
to them as 'manuscripts' without specifying material. From the pictures
(which are bad photographs for the most part),this material is papyrus,
but that is a guess. Once you get as far as India bark and palm leaf
books start appearing, but survivals are sporadic.
Diringer points out that the early Christians favored the codex form
over the roll for their books, and this preference of format pushed the
switch from papyrus to vellum since papyrus is less suitable for the
codex form (tends to crack along fold lines). (Not that there aren't
early codices of papyrus, just that that papyrus works better in a roll