Tuesday, 23 August 2016

popular imagination

A small specialist publishing house in Burgos with a penchant for the palindrome, the Local’s Spanish edition reports, has been granted permission to recreate exact replicas of the enigmatic and mysterious Voynich manuscript, named after the Polish antiquarian who acquired the fifteenth century document from Italian Jesuits just before the start of WWI. Scholars, collectors and cryptographers have been bewitched by this inscrutable tome ever since it came to light—having baffled all and successfully thwarted every attempt to decipher it or deduce it’s authorship—or even its purpose.
The text consists of a score of unique glyphs that has all the hallmarks of an alphabet and natural language but cannot be decoded, adorned by bizarre and beautiful illustrations that provide little in the way of context clues—naked women and plants that don’t exist, leading some to suggest it is a book of magic spells or a treatise on alchemy, rendered so, covertly by one of the respected and orthodox luminaries of the age—or even the artefact of a visiting extra-terrestrial or temporal tourist. What is your theory? Images of the entire book has been available online for some time (the original is kept safe in a vault at Yale University), but the publishers home that exact copies that capture the weight of the parchment, every tear and stain might just embolden the wit of academics in the near future to take that leap and be able to intuit its meaning.