Le Master wrote:Wow, what does a 16th-Century book smell like?
I really didn't notice any smell. Other than the sociology major at the desk next to me. Just kidding!! I have allergies and frequently find myself
olfactorially challenged. I didn't notice any particular smell.
I realize now that I should have spent more time looking at the boring publishing information at the front of the books. I got to see two copies at the
library. The first one I'm fairly sure did not have the orignal cover, was very yellowed, and sounded like it was in pain when I opened it. The other
book seemed to be in a lot better shape, and after a cursory glance to see that the contents were pretty much identical, I decided to use it for most
of my research.
The newer book used italic fonts for the questions, a regular block font for most of the text, and large ornate characters for the first letter of each chapter.
All appear to have been printed. I know that Guttenberg's printing methods had spread across much of Europe by the 16th Century, and that Venice (where
this book was printed) was one of the major printing centers. So I could believe that by 1580 (second printing), the printers had multiple type faces
available. I still don't know if this was a even later printing, however (which is why I regret that I did not spend more time on the front pages).
The paper itself looked fairly un-yellowed but was thick and warped from moisture damage. It was printed on thick stock paper. I am not a printing press
expert so I did not notice flaws between any letters, unusual serifs, or any smudges. Again, I am not an expert on typography, nor do I play one on TV.
I'm also faking the Italian expertise quite a bit. The book is definitely not an incunabulum (now I'm just showin' off -- I learned that word from Prisoner of