After being friends with Justus Danckert’s „architectura chivilis“ for a couple of months now, I have to say that the friendship with this particular book did not really flourish. It is written in an old Dutch that nether I nor the different translators understood. It was also a small books for specific constructive details. So the big amount of pictures „folios“, of small details did not really strike me because I couldn’t really read them. So due to the language barrier it was merely impossible for me to get a hint of the intellectual value of the book. Maybe all those constructive details represent incredible solutions for complex problems. But not understanding the actual task of the book I really couldn’t judge wether I was holding a master piece in my hands or a manual.
But what may sounds negative opened quite a world for me. The visit to Einsiedeln, this astonishing private collection fascinated me. I did not know that one could actually physically touch, examine and read books of such an age. I felt submerged in knowledge and culture. Before this first approach I never would have walked into a place like Einsiedeln to read an ancient book. Ancient books and archives were some sort of surreal thing for me, where only old intellectuals pass their time in and where I would feel rather uncomfortable and out of place.
So in conclusion I think that the great value of this exercise „Friends with an old Book“ was not the individual interaction with one specific book as it was far more an exercise to encourage and incite us students to visit such places and submerge ourselves in watherever is interesting for us. We learned how to handle old books correctly, we learned the value and the limits that such books can offer to us and finally, we learned that they will always be there in places like Einsiedeln, waiting to be picked up and leafed through.