Today we switched up our schedule, going to the BUB in the morning and to class in the afternoon. This was our second opportunity to look at the manuscripts. Although we tried our best to catalog the manuscripts, we were grateful to have the experts to help us. Our teachers from the University of Bologna are so knowledgeable. It’s amazing that they are able to answer our questions with a quick glance at the text. We learned from Maddalena today that there are only around 70 university-based paleographers (hope I got that right!) in Italy. Our teachers showed us a beautiful book of Aesop’s Fables and its facsimile or copy. The illustrations or illuminations were astounding with their bold colors. Brian and I worked on a text by Guido Fava.
We discovered a watermark that was in the form of a pair of scissors or shears. In the afternoon, Professor Mueller gave a presentation about “Rhetorical Intimacy.”
He argued against the idea that the Ars Dictaminis destroyed the “personal” letter. He spoke about the “myth of progress” and that even though the Ars Dictaminis was a major influence, people continued to write personal letters. We were cautioned against sticking to categories like “humanist” because these categories are fluid. Professor Mueller used the example of Petrarch and Valla, who are dissimilar even though they can be categorized as humanists. We learned about the “fandom” that Cicero had. Professor Mueller showed us how Johannes had been chosen as the only printer in Venice for five years. The document stated that no one else should have “the desire, possibility, strength, or daring” to print. We talked about the regulation of desire. The last sentence of this decree also prohibits the import of books from elsewhere for the “purpose of commerce.” A discussion began about today’s issue of intellectual property rights and the difficulty of talking about someone else’s work or a work in their possession without infringing upon those rights.