Throughout the last two semester I have become friends with the book “les fortifications du chevalier Antoine de Ville “.
When I was first assigned this task I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be able to comprehend a book that is written in old french. But to my surprise, slowly with the help of these tasks I was essentially able get an understanding of what the book is about.
The first task required me to conduct background research, giving me an idea of what kind of book I was going to be working with. It introduced me to several digital libraries I hadn’t known. I’m sure that this will be very useful for the rest of my studies at ETH.
For the second task we had to go to the library and “get to know” our book in person. By doing this I got an insight on the physical aspect of the book and I got to see how old and delicate it is. When I was skimming through the pages, I realized how complex the structure of the book is. Unlike modern books, this book is not only structured into chapters but also consists of volumes broken down into parts as well.
In task 3 we had to examine the publishing history of the book. When doing this task, I came across a couple of problems. I had troubles recognizing when a work is considered a new edition.
Task 4 was my least favorite exercise. It was difficult and very laborious to translate my text. But, it was worth it because out of all the tasks, it was the one that helped me understand the book the most. The translation gave me a clear and accurate idea of the topics the book consists of.
The second part of this task was about the composition of the book. I looked at the more intrigued details of the pages themselves. This task was useful to visual the book again in more in depth, however it did not help me in any other way.
The fifth task was my favorite because we got to be creative. My group and I pretended to be the authors of the books and created a whatsapp conversation. It was interesting to see what the books had in common but also what made each book unique.
To conclude, what I learned throughout the last two semesters is that there’s many ways to get to know a book better. This changed my perspective on how to approach a book that I may find challenging. It taught me that with time and effort, I can decipher works that I initially found incomprehensible. I will for sure use the tools I have learned throughout this year, for my future books.