This is what happens when you try to eat beef jerky in a dog daycare
The bookbindings above are as odd as they are rare. In fact, I encountered my first only a few days ago while browsing Folger Library’s image database of bookbindings. The binding is called “dos-à-dos” (back to back), a type almost exclusively produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are like Siamese twins in that they present two different entities joint at their backs: each part has one board for itself, while a third is shared between the two. Their contents show why this was done: you will often find two complementary devotional works in them, such as a prayerbook and a Psalter, or the Bible’s Old and New Testament. Reading the one text you can flip the “book” to consult the other. The last image above is a unification of no less than seven devotional works printed by the same printer (Feichtinger, Lintz, 1736-1737), showing that the constructions could also encompass much more than just two texts. In the 20th century this type of binding enjoyed a revival with the Double Ace books, which featured two short science fiction stories.
Pics: St Andrew’s University Library, Bib BS2085.C27 (top); Washington, Folger Shakespeare Library, STC 23811.2 (two pics), STC 2907 (broidery); Chetham’s Library, shelfmark unknown (editions from 1629, 1633); Ed. J. M. Feichtinger, Lintz, 1736-1737 (from this sales catalogue). Other examples from the Folger here. A nice one auctioned off at Christie’s here.
Sharing a binding
This is a clever book from the 18th century, printed in Oxford in 1756. It presents both the Old and New Testament, although the books are not bound together the regular way, behind one another. Instead, the binder opted to place them next to each other. This very rare binding technique is part of a family that includes the dos-à-dos (or “back to back”) binding, which I blogged about before (here). Having the two testaments bound this way allowed the reader to consult passages from both books at the same time. Indeed, the empty pages in the front and back are filled with notes, including in Greek and Hebrew. It appears this clever binding had a reader to match.
Pic: Manchester, Chetham’s Library (source).
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the rawness up close ➝ krikor jabotian s/s 2014