The image above shows a random, beautiful moment that I found in an old book that I borrowed from Tutt Library here at Colorado College. The book itself is Milton’s Areopagitica and Other Prose Works, (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927). This page spread is the opening of Milton’s “Of Education,” which was written in 1644. This marked up and cut down spread is a fantastic chance composition, but it also demonstrates the multi-authorial nature of this particular (and by inference, any) book. The large print is Milton’s original text. The smaller type before that is the editor’s introduction to this particular piece. But beyond that there are the authorial voices of the typeface, design, typesetting, and printing, by themselves and as a visual unit. There were also multiple binders/bindings, evidenced by the cropping off of the marginalia, the highly visible sewing, and the bright orange “library” bookcloth. & of course there’s also the marks of the former readers/owners. Did the same person make the notes in black, do the underlining in red, and fill in the “O” in “Of Education?” These two pages show the construction, destruction, and reconstruction of the text/book through time. The wonderful marks of a life lived living.

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