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The Way We Were: What Medieval Writers Had to Know

Medieval Writers had to know how to manufacture books - via a summer 2012 exhibit at the Helsinki National Library (peoplewhowrite)

From a summer 2012 exhibit at the Helsinki National Library

This summer, the Helsinki National Library had an informative exhibit about the history of writing. Reading about all that writers in the Middle Ages needed to know is kind of analogous to all that writers need to know and do today. Whether traditionally published or self-published, authors need to be as hands-on as possible to shape the final book/e-book product and move units.

“Besides being able to read and write,” the placard posted above reads, “a writer had to be familiar with a book’s entire manufacturing process — from the pastures of the animals whose hide was used to make parchment to bookshop shelves.” Middle Ages scribes also had to hand-process all the pieces that came together to form a book.

The exhibit asserted, “The medieval scribes would already know our present-day literary solutions inside out… The form of many of our modern literary interfaces — from books to tablet computers — faithfully resemble the medieval book.”

Click here for more tidbits from the exhibit.

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3 responses to “The Way We Were: What Medieval Writers Had to Know

  1. indytony

    It is rather humbling to think I can conceive, write, publish and promote a book pretty much in the comfort of my faux-leather recliner (if I want to be lazy). The craftsmanship and hard work of a medieval author is certainly to be commended.

  2. Pingback: What Will the World Look Like Without Barnes & Noble? | people who write

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