Thursday, July 09, 2020


Neither Fish Nor Flesh

Anthony Grafton, "Is the History of Reading a Marginal Enterprise? Guillaume Budé and His Books," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 91.2 (June, 1997) 139-157 (at 146):
No one has yet tried to reconstruct Budé's library in full. Anyone who does so will have to grapple with the difficulties that always confront students of printed books with manuscript annotations. These hybrid creatures, neither fish nor flesh, often escape the eagle eyes of curators, whose special interests usually lie on one side or the other of Gutenberg's discovery. Often they rest unknown in even the most orderly libraries. Budé's heavily annotated copy of the Aldine edition of Demosthenes belongs to the new Preußische Staatsbibliothek in the former West Berlin. But no single one of the many catalogues under the lurching roof of that massive, abstract yellow building records the book's presence. I found it only because a librarian in the old Staatsbibliothek in the East finally told me, on the last day of a year spent in Berlin, where to look. Impartial observers report that I then set a record for the mile-long run through traffic from one Staatsbibliothek to the other.

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