- Fyodor DostoyevskyMy sabre exploits (not rattling but waving?) took place in The Leeds Library, which is a fascinating place. It is older, both as an institution and a building, than the events whose bicentenary we were marking. Amongst its founding members was Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen.
It doesn't however predate the oldest book in its collection, which I had been privileged to handle just a few days earlier. That was printed in 1483, less than thirty years after Gutenberg had invented the process by which it was produced (*). The book in question is in Latin and is religious in nature. I also was able to look at one printed a couple of decades later, and in that case my 'O' Level Latin was sufficient to tell me that whoever wrote it really, really didn't like Martin Luther. So, within a few decades the new technology of printing was being used in support of religious hatred and persecution; who'd have thought it?
The printed pages of both books were original, but they had been rebound several times. I have always found bookbinding a fascinating craft, although I doubt it's usually as exciting as it is portrayed in Arturo Pérez-Reverte's novel (which I recommend, but isn't as good as the Alatriste books). By an unexpected coincidence Conny Kreitmeier served an apprenticeship as a bookbinder before taking up music professionally. It has been too long (at least a week) since we had a video of Conny looking winsome, so here we go:
* As an aside, what was arguably the next major development in printing technology - the Wharfedale stop-cylinder press - was invented just round the corner from where I am writing this.
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