Dyck 2008

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Dyck, Paul. "'A New Kind of Printing': Cutting and Pasting a Book for a King at Little Gidding." The Library 7th series 2.3 (September 2008): 306-333.

"the book is oddly typical of its time, capturing its historical moment in several ways, some well documented, others not: the role of the household in the attempted reinvigoration of English church and society, the popular treatment of the biblical text and the devotional image, the activities of the print trade including the printing of English bibles and the circulation of prints from the Low Countries, and the movement of such materials into court within the broader politics of ‘the beauty of holiness’." (306-7)

"In continuity with Little Gidding’s monastic influences, the community valued not only the book as a product, but also the process of making it, which engaged ‘hands and minds’ with the scriptural text, providing educa- tional opportunity while warding off idleness and its attendant spiritual problems." (309)

"The work addressed the lack of educational opportunities for the young women of the community: while the entire family used the concord- ances, their making was largely the work of these women. The remarkable particularity about this ‘women’s work’ was that it was both textured and literally textual, bringing to bear reading and compositional skills on the handwork: it thus addressed the need for industry with a particularly physical kind of studiousness. While the women worked under the direction of their uncles Nicholas and John, the sheer number of compositional choices involved in every page suggests that the women’s role was not simply that of passive worker, but as participant in design. The pages bear witness not only to a sustained attention to detail, but also to a lively sense of rhetorical effect." (310)

"Rather than harmonizing by paring down, as they did in the Harvard vol- ume, in the king’s concordance the Ferrars introduced copious material, making every opening of the book a devotional database and sensory theatre." (318)

"The multiplicity of images in the harmonies — their repetition in various sizes, often with the same scene shown twice on one page, and the reuse of particular images in different contexts — was not, as it appears to the modern eye, a sort of scrapbook-like collecting of similar things, but rather a deliberate attempt to flesh out the variations possible in given biblical scenes." (322)

"As with the gospel text, the sensibility guiding the arrangement of images is that the story can be better discovered in multiplicity and repetition. The musical technique of canon — the polyphonic singing of melodic lines pro- ducing its overall effect through repetition with difference — is a tempting and indeed apt parallel: one page in the king’s book features, along with the marriage in heaven, a depiction of a sheet of music, in four parts (cols 55–56). In the concordances, more so than with any contemporary gospel harmony, there is an aesthetic effect, in which the non-identical repetition of similar words and images produces a meditative whole not reducible to its parts. The king’s book renders concordance as agreement in difference, but in an exploratory rather than a constraining way — both comforting in its discovery of gospel agreement and unsettling in its presentation of that gospel, positioning the reader as engaged, called to reckon with the dialogue of the text, and also called by Christ to repent and follow. This is neither a text of complacency nor one of controversy, for it is not meant to solve the problem of the gospels or to locate sin in some external group, but it is rather a text of study, meditation, and finally, devotion." (322-3)

FP 994 -- letter asking for more prints like those for "Betty['s] Concordance" (324)

King's Harmony uses Scottish Bible and New Testament , printed by Robert Young, the King's Printer in Scotland, around the time of the Harmony's construction; "interestingly, the only extant English bible with Bolswert’s prints inserted is a 1633 Edinburgh New Testament (notably with the most non-Calvinist of all the plates, that showing Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, opposite the title-page) 56 — or rather, this is the only extant English bible with Bolswert’s prints other than the one made for Charles at Little Gidding." (326)

wonderful description of different Bibles used to make books; points out that Young's New Testament was only used in royal commissions and so "it is worth considering whether either or both of Young's New Testament and the Bolswert prints were supplied to the Ferrars by Charles and his court" (329) -- marriage of material form and perhaps gift value of text

"The early modern English Bible was formed by centuries of development of the page, and of the compilation and ordering of text into its now familiar form. When the Ferrars cut apart its columns, verses, and words to re-order them, they in an important sense continued in the same tradition of compilatio and ordinatio. When they cut the text block from the margins of New Testaments, separating the text from its surrounding references, it was not to erase the connection but to fulfil it. The mixed text that results — always interrupting itself with alternative versions, including both restate- ments and disturbing differences — models materially the scriptural imagination of the devout reader. Everything is present at once." (331)

"It is notable that the Little Gidding layout creates, as a result, a para- textual environment that is almost entirely authorial. While the traditional marginal cross-reference presents a scholarly voice suggesting a parallel biblical text, the Little Gidding layout replaces the voice of the scholar or compiler with the authorial text itself. The paratextual, presenting presence is implicit in the arrangement, and even in the hands that glued the paper in place. The text becomes most purely authorial even as it bears most witness to its presentation; on a cut-and-pasted page the piece of paper itself becomes an implicit comment on the text. Strikingly, while the Ferrars certainly thought of this way of making a bible as exceptional, commenting that they had discovered a new way of printing, there is no indication that their books and their way of making them went against the grain of com- mon ideas of biblical textuality. As Matthew P. Brown has put it, ‘Sacred text is both informational and aesthetic’, intended both to deliver literal truths and ‘to exist in multiple forms and voices thick with linguistic and biblio- graphic codes that mediate and reimagine its information. For [. . .] early modern Europe, Judeo-Christian scripture is an especially thick discursive mode’. 78 The ‘thickness’ of biblical textuality, far from forbidding the cut- ting apart and reassembling of the Bible, makes it possible and even likely, at least in the sense that, once done, it was immediately recognizable as a rightful treatment of the sacred text." (332)

"The ‘unique hybridity’ of the king’s concordance dramatically demon- strates the multiple and changeable cultural functions of the printed word. Remarkably, the same texts and images that were mass-produced by the London presses, or new made in the adventure of Robert Young’s press, or printed in Antwerp and then imported into England, to circulate in a variety of ways, including at the local fair, were brought into the concordance room at Little Gidding and remade, not only cropped from their original pages but removed from their status as mass-produced and traded objects. In cutting, arranging, pasting, and pressing these thousands of pieces of paper, the con- cordance makers transformed them into a singular, handmade object, a gift fit for a king. Doing so, they reemployed the materials of commerce within an economy of court patronage." (332)

they could have made a mss concordance easily -- "That they chose instead to cut and paste printed pages, in a 'new kind of printing', demonstrates -- whatever its motivations -- a commitment to the printed page as the locale of devotion. This handmade book presents the material grounds of common religious practice in early modern England, both in its authorized text and in its unorthodox images, the latter culturally marginal yet finding their way into the intimate spaces of the court." (333)