“Friends with an old book” turned out to have a surprising outcome for me, as I honestly didn’t think the exercise would interest me at first. At the beginning of the semester, I also wasn’t particularly pleased to hear that those who had to go to Einsiedeln had a one and a half hour trip ahead of them “only to see some old books”, as we didn’t have a lot of time for trips with all we had to do with our projects.
However, my perspective completely changed once I arrived at Einsiedeln and saw how beautiful the library and the view was. This actually became my favourite part of the year’s assignments. I was immediately fascinated by the numerus books that were all around us and the place felt like a sanctuary. As I got to see my book and to finally open it, I was amazed of how heavy it actually was and I enjoyed discovering I could unfold all the pages inside. The fragility of it made me look at every single detail and I felt like I had the responsibility to take good care of it and to treasure it. The gothic handwriting made it difficult to read, but the elegance of it drew me to the beauty of each letter, more than the words or the sentences. Each page showed very detailed and meticulous work, especially all the technical drawings that, for me, were a true work of art. What I found nice about my book, was that, even if it was written three centuries ago and wasn’t written in a modern language, as it mostly had drawings in it, I immediately felt like I could understand it and identify myself to it, in some way like a child that hasn’t learned to read yet understands a story by looking at the illustrations in a book instead of the words.
I think these tasks made me realise how important it is to preserve historical books, first of all because of all the knowledge they behold, but also for their beauty and rarity. I definitely have a different perspective on the matter, as yet before I hadn’t ever held such an old and historical book in my hands.
I was actually a bit disappointed as I found out that my book wasn’t recognised in the OCR systems for task four and that I had to change my book for the last task. When I discovered which book I had to use, I noticed how very different it was from my original one. There weren’t any drawings and the writing was no longer in German gothic, but in English. Nonetheless, the biggest difference was that my second book was very famous and still is, whereas my first one wasn’t well known and has almost been forgotten, but I must say, now it won’t be forgotten by me.
In conclusion, I would say that having had to change books for the last tasks wasn’t only interesting for comparison between both of them, but also made me realise that I had in some sorts become attached to the first one and that I had indeed, become friends with an old book.