Aug 4, 2022

Rolling, Scrolling, Flipping, Folding

 Yin Liu

This sketch by the Norwegian comedy show Øystein og jeg has become somewhat of a classic for digital humanists and for book historians; it reminds us that the bound codex, the most familiar and stereotypical form of the book for us now, was once a new technology. Of course, the comedy sketch is far from being historically accurate, and medieval people in Europe were quite familiar with codices, but it is true that they were also familiar with a different book form that we tend not to think of today: books that were opened and navigated not by separating and turning leaves, but by unrolling a strip of material.