The Voynich Manuscript

Public Panel

Thursday, December 11, 2014, 7:30 pm
Folger Theatre
$15/10 for members

Join scholars Bill Sherman and René Zandbergen for a discussion of the still un-deciphered Voynich manuscript whose secrets have remained hidden for over 400 years.

When the Voynich Manuscript came to light in 1912, it was described as "the most mysterious manuscript in the world"--and a full century later we still know surprisingly little about it. Dating from the early 15th century, it was carefully written by an unknown author (in an unknown place and for unknown reasons) in an elaborate script that has never been deciphered. And it is filled with hundreds of drawings of plants, people, and stars that have yet to give up their secrets. On loan for the first time from the Beinecke Library at Yale University, this manuscript is a centerpiece of Folger’s fall exhibition on Decoding the Renaissance.

This conversation will review what is known (and not known) and focus on new approaches to this old problem, including science and art history, Medieval and Renaissance history, codicology and conservation, and the history of collecting.

Wine Reception and exhibition viewing to follow.

Presented in conjunction with Decoding the Renaissance - on exhibit through February 26.
Voynich image courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Read a New Yorker article about the Voynich Manuscript here.