Book News Bits
Books in chains – Yeah, it’s book bondage – sorta. Actually this reminds me of a book I just read The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett which featured books that had been kept this way until a WWII bombing raid necessitated their removal. Here the librarian of Hereford Cathedral (which has the largest surviving chained library in the world) discusses how this was an ancient security system to protect these priceless medieval books. Some of them have got scribbled notes in the margins! I would love to slip on some protective gloves and be let loose in here for a while.
In this video BBC Culture explores the chained library with its librarian, Dr Rosemary Firman, getting an insight into some of the 229 medieval manuscripts still locked to its shelves and exploring how the chained library’s influence can still be felt in modern libraries today.
Homer Odyssey: Oldest extract discovered on clay tablet – I know authors like to imagine they’re crafting deathless prose but here’s (almost) the real deal.
A clay tablet discovered during an archaeological dig may be the oldest written record of Homer’s epic tale, the Odyssey, ever found in Greece, the country’s culture ministry has said.
Found near the ruined Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olympia, the tablet has been dated to Roman times.
It is engraved with 13 verses from the poem recounting the adventures of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy.
In the same way that Homer’s epics took hold within the West, The Book of Songs played a role in spheres far beyond literature, with a lasting influence on Chinese civilisation. The collection had an impact on education, politics and communal life: in antiquity, the Songs were quoted and recited as coded communication in diplomatic exchange; invoked as proof to cap a philosophical argument; read as commentary – satirical more often than not – on historical circumstances; and taught for the purposes of moral edification. It has continued to affect Chinese society since then, both through what the Songs say and the form they take.