Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | October 3, 2012

Manuscripts and Incunabula, Oh My

This week I’m in Manhattan, on a research grant from the day job, spending my days at the Pierpont Morgan Library. I am in my element here, I have to say.  I spent Monday with photocopies of manuscripts and yesterday morning with microfilm, but I worked with a manuscript from around 1440 yesterday afternoon.  Later this week, I will look at an early printed book from about 1530–not an incunabulum, like I said in the title, but “early printed book” doesn’t fit in the linky title line very well!

I get these chances to do research very seldom, but they are always revelatory when I get them.  Not only do I enjoy doing this research, like a pig in clover, my aunt would have said, but I’m very good at it.  It boosts my self-confidence immensely to dust off my paleographic and language skills, immersing myself in the alien cultures of 15th- and 16th-century England and France and finding myself so very much at home.

I find that I am storing up all the experience like photographs of loved ones, to take with me. I can pull them out in low times to remember who I am and where I come from.

I’m not meeting my other goals due to spotty internet, but I will have time to catch up when I return home.  I am ecstatic that I could start this Round with such a wonderful sprint, or to follow on my fledgling images from last Round, a breathtaking soar far above the treetops.

Kait’s post  about best practices and checking in with others is a very good one.  Please add the best practice of encouraging everyone; they are listed here.

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Responses

  1. Sounds like a good reason not to be meeting your goals at least. The experience is good for your writing, too, since it gives you more to build on.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Patrick. I’m finding the research feeds into the novel in a wonderful sort of synergy, exactly as you say. I hope you have a great rest of the week.

  2. you sound like your’e having fun – archives and research can be amazing – I can’t manage the old handwritings and language so you are way ahead of me – plenty time to catch up – all the best:)

    • Oh, I had a lot of fun, Alberta. It’s always good to dust off the things I learned and actually use them–it is gratifying to be able to make my way through things still!

      I’m glad you’re getting back to yourself, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

  3. Spending days surrounded by centuries’ old books sounds like just about the best job in the world. That, or the start of a Lovecraft story.
    Glad you’re beginning the new round with such high spirits!

    • Lol, a Lovecraft story–too true! I’m an administrator for the majority of my job, so it makes it all worthwhile when I can immerse myself in the old stuff that I love.

      It is lovely to begin on such a high note–it makes it all seem possible. Have a lovely week, Jeff, and thanks for stopping by.


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