Plus the official acceptance letter from Trier and a Thank you note from Berlin.
Thanks Dr. Axel Halle, Hans Eckert, Dr. Embach, and Barbara Schneider-Kempf.
Yesterday, my final delivery for this trip was at the Bodmer Library in Geneva Switzerland.
My schedule didn’t allow me to deliver it to the Vice-Director on Tuesday so I left Addendum, Edition 24 with Ugo Rodriguez. And then I went through the truly astounding Musee Bodmer. Breath-taking display of the word! A museum founded less on the incredible content of its holdings and more on the tradition of writing as being fundamentally human and humanizing.
I left overwhelmed by tears. There were fragments of Pasteur. Darwin’s Origins. Handwriting long before letterpress, across cultures and topics. The insistence of the mark thru time. A place founded on the transgressive act of writing more than the specific story.
A carved peace treaty in a nail. Borges handwritten Tlon Uqbar. Beckett, Shakespeare, Galileo, Pythagoras, Aristotle …
And of course Gutenberg’s bible with Hubay #30. I left painfully humbled and in a stupor of inconceivable gratitude.
In 32 days I delivered 24 copies of Addendum to 21 institutions in 20 cities. 12 accepted. 12 pending review.
I am extremely tired and over saturated. But in an effort to keep myself steady, my mind keeps returning to Huizinga’s Homo Ludens. That humanity’s greatest virtue is to seriously play. And story telling is one serious way to play- to play out one view point in the context of another’s, so that both may arrive at a shifting sense of meaning. Xo
With a sense of quiet I report. Today, Dott. Ambrogio Piazzoni, Vice Prefetto of Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, accepted one edition. He and Mrs. Vincenti, Secretary to the Library, spoke in Italian and he accepted the 2nd Addendum. Editions 22 & 23 join Gutenberg Bibles with Hubay number 33 and 34. After the summer holiday, they will let me know if the Addenda will receive call numbers to be included in the library catalog for reference or if they will be treated as art objects.
In exchange, they gave me a beautifully constructed book about the Vatican Library. And a brief tour. They have over a million books in their holdings and 90,000 manuscripts.
Before the 15th century, all books were stored in a basement across from the present library. But of course, after the invention of printing, this was not enough room and the library has gone through many renovations to both expand its stacks and create suitable sites to study. They also have paintings of the head librarians, over time. Mrs. Vincenti used a special word for their title but I forget. I loved the overt recognition of the conceptual genealogy stewarding this place of thought through time.
Of note to my particular fondness for microbes, one room for reviewing old books had empty walls to ensure that infestations do not spread between books as different readers request different books. Microbes love cellulose. This I know well.
While I was allowed to take photos for my personal use, I was asked not to blog them. So instead I share photos taken from outside. I will say, there was an inlaid door that was simply astounding. I do so appreciate good craftsmanship.
The following photos are from the two walls surrounding the entrance to the library.
August 6, 2014.
A joy to have Steen Bille Larsen, Advisor to the Director General, accept Addendum Ed. 21, enthusiastically. He will suggest it be catalogued in Manuscripts so that it may serve its purpose – addend.
The Royal Library holds Gutenberg Bible Hubay # 12, v. 2. I asked how did the Royal Library come to own that volume. I was told that during the Great Northern war, 1700-1721, Duke Gottorp of what is now northern Germany, lost to the monarchy of the region now known as Denmark (notably he said, Denmark is only a 150 year old nation-state). According to the International Law at the time, winners of war could take all the cultural objects. It is unclear how Volume 1 & 2 became separated (Vol 1. is in Kassel, Germany).
While the black diamond – the name for the new addition less than 20 years old – is the main library, the original library was built in the modern style. Just like the New York Public library, it was built with steel shelves that were movable based on the German library design at Strasbourg (1890s). Movable shelves meant space optimization to enable libraries to hold more and more books. Of course, he said, while Copenhagen, the US, and others looked at Germany for library science developments, (knowing I traveled from NY) all have looked at the New York Public Library for developing public library systems.
Yesterday, I was received. Frau Fischbach suggested I leave the Addendum for Dr. Baumann but she herself was unable to pass it along. So I left it with Peter Becker, a guard at the front gate, who agreed to pass it on to Dr. Baumann. Perhaps this edition of Addendum will join the Rendsburg Fragment of the Gutenberg Bible in Schleswig, Germany.
This trip has reminded me of the power of the gift. However in Germany gift has a mixed meaning.
Online Etymology: “In many Germanic languages “poison” is named by a word equivalent to English gift (such as Old High German gift, German Gift, Danish and Swedish gift; Dutch gift, vergift). This shift might have been partly euphemistic, partly by influence of Greek dosis “a portion prescribed,” literally “a giving,” used by Galen and other Greek physicians to mean an amount of medicine (see dose (n.)).”