3 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2021
    1. in De discipline scholarum, a guidebook made in the 1230s for students and teachers at the University of Paris, it is explained how a student should bring such slips of parchment to class for taking notes. Interestingly, some of these slips have survived because they were pasted in a student’s textbook, like the one seen in the image above. These are truly the medieval equivalent of our “yellow sticky notes.” The practice of bringing scrap material into the classroom was a much broader medieval phenomenon, as is shown by the famous birch bark notes that survive from 13th-century Russia.

      Students used offcuts (or scraps) of parchment for writing notes on in class.

    1. Hesperides, or The Muses’ Garden. Hao Tianhu, “Hesperides, or the Muses’Gardenand its Manuscript History,”Library10(2009),372–404, convincinglyunpacks the complicated history ofHesperides, a manuscript commonplacebook of thousands of passages of contemporary verse and prose extractsarranged alphabetically under headings which exists in two extant versions:Folger Shakespeare Library, MS V.b.93(compiled c.1654–66) and a secondversion based on the former that was prepared for print in1655–65but neverprinted, was cut up in the nineteenth century by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, and now exists in three Folger manuscripts and seventy scrapbooksat the Shakespeare Centre Library in Statford-upon-Avon. Gunnar Sorelius,“An Unknown Shakespearian Commonplace Book,”Library28(1973),294–308, demonstrates that the source of the Shakespeare quotations cut andpasted into over sixty of Halliwell-Phillipps’ Shakespearean scrapbooks was amanuscript that also once contained the now-fragmentary Folger MSSV.a.75,79, and80, and argues that the manuscript is valuable for the light itsheds on seventeenth-century taste and on how a reader spontaneously editedShakespeare. Beal (III, E), vol.1, part2(1980), p.450, discovered thecompiler’s identity (John Evans), an entry in the Stationers’ Register for1655and an advertisement of1659indicating thatHesperideswas to be publishedby Humphrey Moseley (though it never was), and the existence of FolgerMS V.b.93.

      This provides evidence and at least a date for the idea of cutting up books into scraps and then rearranging them to create a commonplace. Where does this fit into the continuum on the evolution of the zettelkasten idea?

      How was this rearrangement physically done besides the cutting up of pieces? Were they pasted in? Clipped? other?

  2. May 2021
    1. AS PAPER became ever more abundant from the fourteenth century onward, note-taking proliferated, expanding from erasable wax tablets (the method used by Cicero and medieval wool merchants) and erasable donkey skin to permanent slips of paper and notebooks. An early-modern term for notes was “scraps.” Piles of them were called scrap heaps, and tragically for historians, most notes ended up there. Yet notes made in the margins of great printed books survived, and they are like rare seashells in the sands of the libraries.

      Early versions of annotations. Sad to realize that most of them likely perished.

      Interesting to think of this problem of note taking actually coining the phrase "scrap heap".