Hello, and welcome to Carnivalesque 86, the early modern edition! Step right up for a look at things small and large in the world of early modern blogs. I’ve been puzzling through the relationship between the fairly new field of big data in the humanities and what might be its opposite, small data, and so many of the posts that caught my attention are ones that are navigating between individual objects and networks of data. One of the objections that I have to big data is that I’m drawn to the ephemeral and the hard-to-measure. In “Early printed book contains rare evidence of medieval spectacles,” The Harry Ransom Center’s Cultural Compass blog takes a look at that trickiest of ephemera, not the object itself but the traces it left behind. The medieval manuscript used as the endpapers to a 1568 printed work show the outline of a pair of medieval glasses….
Hi, all. Some online book-history-related tidbits you might be interested in: 1) The Folger Bindings Image Collection is now up and running and is gorgeous and full of tasty metadata to help you find what you’re looking for! 2) Jen Howard asked a great question about looking for readings about reading and the results are now being collected in a Zotero library. Please add your suggestions. 3) The talk that I posted here led to a great conversation with Glenn Fleishman, who wrote it up for The Economist’s Babbage blog! (a bit of horn self-tooting there, sorry, but it was pretty exciting in what has otherwise been a glum stretch of time) And this is a heads’ up and a plea: I’m hosting the next early modern edition of Carnivalesque at the end of the month, so I’m eager for your recommendations for great blog posts. There’s a handy web…
Some close observation and deductive reasoning led commenters in the right direction in solving the June crocodile mystery. Here’s image that I posted last week, with a bit more context: With that bit of the surrounding context, it’s much clearer that it’s a picture of the catch to a clasp on a fifteenth-century calf binding. ((But of course, the context makes solving the mystery too easy! But the visible details—the rivets holding this in place, the catch opening on the right—were enough to lead observers to its identity. Kudos to John Lancaster, who was the first to suggest that it was the catch-plate to a binding clasp.))
This month’s crocodile mystery will hopefully be less mysterious than last month’s, which was a bit unclear as to what you were meant to be focusing on. Take a gander at the picture below, keeping in mind, as always, that the object might not be depicted at life-size and that you can click on the image to enlarge it in a new window. Leave your suggestions and comments below and stay tuned for the revelation in a future post. And if you have suggestions for future crocodile mysteries, feel free to shoot me an email.