January 28, 2009

No touching — but you can look all you want


A sample of the wares at the Abbey whatever

A sample of the wares at the Abbey Library of St. Gall

The famous medieval manuscript library, The Abbey Library of St. Gall, is underway developing a virtual library of all 400 of its priceless texts and manuscripts dating from before 1000 BC. The program, with the catchy name of “Codices Electronici Sangallenses,” currently provides access to 251 manuscripts. They are continuously updating and extending access, as their very cool website notes. You can go there and see the likes of this amazing bible dating from between 740-760 BC. You can “leaf through” these gorgeous manuscripts simply by clicking the forward button. The bindings, the materials, the writing — they are all truly amazing artifacts. The abbey has been in continuous existence for over 1200 years. And according to their website, “It is the only major medieval monastery library still standing at its original location.” So they came by all those manuscripts honestly….

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.