C. Maier’s Use of a Reagent in the Vercelli Book
- The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society
- Oxford University Press
- Volume 16, Number 3, September 2015
- pp. 249-281
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This article examines the mutilations the Vercelli Book suffered at the hands of C. Maier, a German scholar who prepared the manuscript’s first modern transcript in 1834. After establishing a contextual framework for Maier’s background in manuscript research and of the prevailing notions of the time concerning the use of reagents in order to enhance the legibility of medieval handwriting, the study then focuses on four distinct hypotheses with which to approach the stains of gall tincture that Maier inflicted on the Vercelli Book. Through reconstructing the possible working procedure of the transcriber and his motivations for reagent use, the article, on a more general level, also contributes to a better understanding of nineteenth-century philologists’ attitudes towards the material integrity of manuscripts.