This Is Not A Book

This book is a collection of texts. It is comprised of:
– a title page
– an address to the reader
– a dedication to the pope
– a preface
– a biography
– bilingual selections of the Physiologus
– commentary in Latin
– woodcut decorations
– copperplate engraved illustrations
– a homily
– two indices of subjects and words
– a list of authorities and citations
– a statement of approval by the Church censor
– a statement of royal privilege

Our text has been compiled by Consalus Ponce de Leon in 1588 with commentary and notes in both Greek and Latin from a selection of different animals from the Physiologus, which is a compendium of all available factual, mythical and allegorical information of every animal known to man, moving from the Classical into the Medieval period.

Whatever we present to you is not a book: it is a representation of a book- when we make it digital we lose the physicality of the object (sense of touch, smell, etc) in our interaction with the object. The details presented are merely optical, flattened by the digital process.

Here are two different library catalog screenshots of this object: one from the UVic Special Collections and another from WorldCat. As you can see, these two catalogs treat this object very differently:


from the UVic special collections catalog

The UVic Library considers this to be a collection of Greek sermons, despite the fact that a majority of this object is actually written in Latin. Though there are select columns of Greek which has been transcribed, it is then translated and interpreted in Latin.

Meanwhile, WorldCat catalog treats it very differently, describing the object as follows: “the ill. are preceded by captions in Greek and Latin, and followed by Greek and Latin texts and interpretations in parallel columns, and by Consalus Ponce de Leon’s notes in Latin in single column. Eis ta baia logos is printed in Greek and Latin on facing pages, and followed by 1 p. of Latin scholia” as seen below:

from the WorldCat catalog

WorldCat doesn’t consider this object to be a book of sermons but rather a scholarly object, in part due to its bilingual nature. To call this a scholarly object is far more accurate than calling it a book of sermons.

And, in contrast to both, The British Library does not add any additional commentary to their entry on this object beyond title and ascribed author, though they mention that it is in Greek and Latin, perhaps the safest way to describe our object:

Forthcoming: the physical/digital interaction with the book-object.


About heatherfroehlich

@heatherfro //
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to This Is Not A Book

  1. Pingback: Plotting the Book | Predigital Worlds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s