Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Folger Exhibitions
• Past Exhibitions
Technologies of Writing in the Age of Print
Writing in Printed Books

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Writing in Printed Books




John Brinsley. Ludus literarius: or, the grammar schoole. London, 1612

Renaissance readers were encouraged to use the blank spaces in printed books for their manuscript notes. Popular printed textbooks not only encouraged pupils to make notes in the margins but also stimulated the use of blank books, the sale of which increased massively in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Many books, particularly almanacs, were sold with interleaved blank pages to provide more space for the reader’s activities as a writer.

 

The supposed opposition between writing or drawing by hand and printing is manifestly contradicted by the wide range of books and forms that were specifically designed to be filled in by hand. From the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) on, various histories were published with blank leaves on which the printed past could be continued into a handwritten future (for example, see John More's A table from the beginning of the world to this day (Cambridge, 1593). Similarly, almanacs were regularly sold with blank leaves for recording daily information. Most of the famous seventeenth-century diarists began by recording notes in printed, interleaved books. The pages of blank books designed for recording heraldic devices (known as "Ordinaries") were printed with blank shields in which owners could draw coats of arms or paste in engraved ones.

 

Next »
 
John Brinsley. Ludus literarius: or, the grammar schoole. London, 1612 (Detail)



More

Printed textbooks such as Brinsley's Ludus literarius instructed children in the importance of writing notes both in the margins of printed books and in blank books. In the marginal note shown above (a detail from the book on the left), Brinsley describes how to memorize a sermon: by transcribing as much as one can remember into a blank book, and leaving space in the margins and between the lines for incorporating brief summaries, headings, divisions, and scriptural citations.




Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623