After one year of getting to know the book “Desseins de toutes les parties de l’eglise de Saint Pierre de Rome” written by Jaques Tarade, I’m not sure if I can call this book my friend. It is not a stranger, but I still don’t feel really close to it. But maybe let’s start at the beginning.
The first encounter wasn’t really a meeting because I was stalking my book online. I didn’t really find out a lot about it, only that it lives pretty far away from me. So that was our first issue. The second problem was communication. I found out that the book is written by hand in old French and to be honest I’m not even good in understanding “normal” French.
Anyway, I still was motivated to meet this book in person and in the second meeting I drove all the way out to Einsiedeln to visit it. I was amazed by the books home. It was so organized and beautiful, so I decided to stay there for a pretty long time. I’m not sure if it were the surroundings, but I all of a sudden was really interested in my book. It had such a unique cover, the drawings and handwritten texts were beautifully layouted and all glued in so carefully and I felt privileged to hold such an old and unique book in my hands.
However, after that second meeting I sadly lost the connection again pretty fast. I think it was because of the following meetings. They were pretty exhausting, under time pressure and because my book wasn’t well known let alone on the internet, it was sometimes hard to do the tasks.
So, in the third meeting I couldn’t find out anything about its publishing history and therefor couldn’t get closer to my book.
On the fourth meeting the problem was that the book was written by hand and the Optical Character Recognition engine couldn’t recognize anything the book was saying. So, I had to type everything on the computer myself and translate it after. It was pretty exhausting and took a lot of time. That’s why I got even less excited about the book. Even the text we got to write about the composition, typography and illustrations couldn’t excite me again.
So now after our fifth meeting I’m sitting here looking back on this year and wondering what would have needed to be different that I could have become real friends with this book. I think some meetings that were arranged would have needed more preparation in form of really knowing what information there is on the different books. Because it is really hard to form a bond with something that gets disrupted and you can’t really work with sometimes.
But all in all, I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to meet such an old book, get to know it a little bit and appreciate it and the knowledge that it keeps.