I came across a fantastic word this week, manicule. A manicule is a symbol in the shape of a pointing hand, used to draw attention to a section of text.
My discovery was made, during a visit to the Bodleian Library, in an exhibition called Sensational Books. The exhibition centred around books you could, taste, see, smell, and hear, taking someone beyond the normal reading experience. There were books made from vegetables and cheese; books with varying smells, (I got a whiff of Tolkien’s Middle Earth) and several medieval manuscripts containing manicules.
The first manicule is believed to have been used in The Doomsday Book in 1086, where they appeared with other marginal annotations such as daggers. Handwritten manicules petered out with the invention of the printing press.
One of my pet peeves is finding scribbles in margins and between lines of books. Seeing the intricacy and artistic detail of the hands that were drawn back then, I am beginning to think that there may be a place for an elegant doodle in the occasional book.
Could You Eat a Book?
To add to my joy, I met someone who ran a workshop on edible books. In the workshop, participants created a book from edible papers and vegetable inks. Over a cup a tea, they could discuss the experience, and then eat the book. How wild!
My mind is now racing with what flavour my next poetry collection will be. I am favouring rhubarb and cold custard. Have you ever eaten a book? If you made an edible book, what flavour would it be? I would love to find out.
Have a great weekend.