By Carol Garrett Fisher, Scott Fisher, Kathleen L. Scott
Ebook by means of Fisher, Carol Garrett
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Additional resources for Art into Life: Collected Papers from the Kresge Art Museum Medieval Symposia
Monastic scribes generally worked about six hours a day copying. Copying and religious duties accounted for all the daylight hours. Artificial light was rarely used; and silence was imposed upon the scriptorium, but copying itself was not silent. Each scribe essentially dictated to himself and the scriptorium was filled with a Page 18 dull murmuring. In order to communicate, an elaborate system of hand signals was devised. Silent reading was a development of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. With the Gregorian Reform of the eleventh century and as cathedral schools became more important and cities developed notarial needs, there was a shift away from the monastic scriptoria.
Soft-cover bindings tended to replace wooden boards, and parchment became progressively thinner as the number of folios per gathering increased. Dictation was the major mode of composing literary and other works until well into the Middle Ages. In monastic scriptoria the scribes continued this mode in what was in effect self-dictation. In eighth-century England and Ireland word division in manuscripts occurs for the first time. This developed as a pedagogical device to aid those whose grasp of Latin was less than perfect.
He was ready to make his first full-scale attempt at printing. The required money was loaned by a banker, Johann Fust, in 1450, but Gutenberg had to pledge his equipment. In designing the type, he had the assistance of a Paris-educated scribe, Peter Schoeffer. The font of type designed and cut by Schoeffer and Gutenberg turned out to be too large for the projected Bible. It would allow too few lines of type per page and thus require a vast expenditure in paper and vellum. Unfortunately the capital supplied by Fust had been exhausted in the preparation of the abortive first font (subsequently known as the B36 font as it was used in the thirty-six-line Bible probably printed by Gutenberg in 1458) and a second loan was required in 1452.