Othello Texts

After examining several of the texts, there is a obvious difference between these texts and current copies that is well worth noting. This is that, despite the use of a basic printer, thanks to Gutenberg in the 1450’s, these texts are still art. The large beautiful letters beginning the manuscripts along with the crests and other designs that fill some of the pages, in addition to the different uses of fonts, all point to the fact that these manuscripts were art. The transformation of the world into the digital age has made such artistic ability obsolete and unnecessary. Yes, maybe our texts look better from a technical standpoints in terms of perfectly aligned margins and the like, but from an artistic perspective they are far inferior.

This lack of art is concerning to say the least. It begs the question of whether art in the modern age is evolving in that maybe the type of art that is emphasized now is more spacial and visual than based on the execution of beautiful designs. Or is it possible than there are simply fewer people who are artistically gifted and art is a skill that is slowly but surely dying away?

As to why there is the last word of each page left in the bottom corner, I initially thought it could very well be to lead the reader to the next page. After a little bit of research, I determined that these words are “catchwords,” or simply words that are intended to help the man (or woman) who binds the book have an easier time aligning pages so that the pages are in the correct order.

Another thing that I noticed as I looked through some of these manuscripts is that there is often backwards ink visible on the pages. This, after checking a few words, is ink that has bled through the other side of the page.

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