The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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Join the fold

Sarah Werner says that to understand this history of bookmaking, you have to understand folding. This was high technology, remember, and a big part of it was all the ways that broad sheets of paper could be made into smaller pages of various sizes. This is where the fancy terminology you’ve heard comes from: folio (folded once), quarto (folded twice), octavo (folded three times), and so on. Anyway, to really impress this upon her students, Sarah decided to present her syllabus as… a quarto.

August 12, 2012 / Uncategorized

One comment

Murat Gunes says…

I recall reading a not particularly convincing, but nevertheless interesting historical note that the dominantly rectangular form of the page (and consequently, the book) may have been dictated by the roughly rectangular shape of the sheepskin, which was used for some of the earliest parchments.

A fascinating bit of speculative history, to consider for a moment: “Why is the book rectangular?” ” Because the sheep is!”

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