From Manuscript to Print: the Evolution of the Medieval Book

Eaten by Worms
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Wormholes are visible in these two examples, indicating that insects have feasted upon them. The copy of Juvenal is so badly worm-eaten that some of its text has been lost, and a strip of parchment has been added to mend the page.


The vernacular book, which offers meditations on the Passion of Christ, has fared better. Although two small wormholes near the top have left the text unimpaired, the book has apparently preserved the crushed remains of an insect, visible in the inner margin of the left page. The term "bookworm" generally refers to the larvae of a certain family of beetles (Bostrichidae), but these are not the only insects that destroy books; other offenders include moth larvae, silverfish, cockroaches, and booklice.

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[top] Juvenal. Satires. Italy, last quarter of the fifteenth century. [bottom] Meditatione de la Passione. Italy, fifteenth century.
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Introduction
the Sacred Word
Churchbooks
Private Prayer
Letterforms
Leather and Chains
Medieval Music
Schoolbooks
How the Classics Survived
Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Evolution of the Book
Appetite for Destruction
Manuscript Facsimiles
Cornell's Medieval Books
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