Tuesday, 12 April 2011

incunabula or roger ramjet

 A six hundred year old copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle (DE/EN), Liber Chronicarum, an illuminated world history and one of the earliest printed books in Europe, turned up in Utah. Hearing of such finds really validates poking around flea-markets and even hording a strata of forgotten things in one's own attics and basements. I was not really cognizant of what the chronicles featured, nor of the fantastic wood-cut illustrations, brilliant like the animation style in The Point! or School House Rock or Fractured Fairy Tales, which feature a few cities not too far away, like Bamberga (Bamberg) and Herbipolis (the Latin name of Wรผrzburg). In fact, I think I have this same illustration of Wรผrzburg framed, stashed away some more, although I am sure it is just a nice print and nothing cannibalized from a book.
Also, in deference to the fiftieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's space flight, which was among all else a huge feat of engineering for the Soviet Union and certainly a chance for communism to shine, the cosmonaut was instructed to equip himself with symbols of the party, including a copy of Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto.
Because, however, the volume was the wrong dimensions to fit into his suit's cargo pocket, it was not destined to be the first book in orbit. Gagarin, rather substituted a copy of Moby Dick (which does not seem too svelte either) at the last minute before boarding.