Apotheosis of the Bookworm

The “foreign materials” in old books deserve a special red-titled chapter in the great encyclopedia of bibliophilia. Until it is written, we feel it appropriate to insert here, after the pilgrim’s beard included in the cover of a codex, another similar finding of ours. True, we have already reported about it in Mesa revuelta, the “professional blog” of Studiolum, but finally here’s an apropos to present it also to the readers of Río Wang.

Recently I had a really curious experience. I asked for the Opus Catechisticum sive De Summa Doctrinae Christianae of Petrus Canisius (edition of Cologne 1586, shelfnumber 542.863) in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and as the volume arrived, the first thing I noticed was something that could be most appropriately described as a papal bull hanging from between the leaves of the book:

However authoritative the Catechismus of Canisius was, nevertheless this appendix was not a papal bull. Its circumscription said in a slightly archaizing Hungarian:

MDLXXIV - 1962

Was this extraordinary collection of natural history the opus magnum of an exceptionally thoroughgoing restorer? The outpouring of an übertreibener Antiquargeist? A fanatic of zoohistory avant la lettre? One thing is sure: in those days of high Communism time was a cheap commodity, and people could at ease addere limam to a restored bookbinding well done.

I’m only embarrassed with the year indicated in the bull as of the first tumulation of these late Renaissance insects before the translation of their relics in 1962. It is 1574, that is, twelve years before the very printing of this Catechism. Were they documentedly transferred to this book from another one? Had they been buried in an earlier volume, but the restorer regarded it more honorable to confide their remains to this authoritative Catechism so they look forward with brighter hopes to the dies irae? Or did time flow this much at ease in those days of high Communism?

3 comentarios:

Julia dijo...

¡Me encantaría tener una réplica como señalador!
He aquí una idea para Studiolum: una nueva línea de merchandising bibliófilo... ;-)

Studiolum dijo...

Buenísima idea! Voy a hacerlo. Inicialmente solo en estampa, pero más tarde también en copias 3D.

Recreoanacronista dijo...

Yo mismo me quedo sorprendido a veces de las "basurillas" que encuentras en los libros antiguos. A veces hasta los recortes de la tonsura, trocitos de chapa...

Como curiosidad hay algún volumen maltratado y atravesado por la espada del dueño ante la frustrante dificultad de las enseñanzas de esgrima xontenidas en el volumen...