"I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself." - Huxley
Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is a tiny Islamic prayer book from the collections of the University of Edinburgh.
This blog, as you’ll have noticed, focuses almost exclusively on western manuscripts. This reflects my own bias - the little I know about manuscripts is based on studying Christian art at university (some time ago). However there’s a whole world out there, and other manuscript traditions. This book was probably produced in what is modern day Syria or Iran. Lovely, isn’t it?
Because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs. So people pretend there is drama where there is none.
Every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, “The world is quiet here,” as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good.
My depth of purse is not so great
Nor yet my bibliophilic greed,
That merely buying doth elate:
The books I buy I like to read:
Still e’en when dawdling in a mead,
Beneath a cloudless summer sky,
By bank of Thames, or Tyne, or Tweed,
The books I read — I like to buy.
Only just started this because I had to finish what I was reading first!
And as they watched, upon the mound there came forth two slender shoots; and silence was over all the world in that hour, nor was there any other sound save the chanting of Yavanna. Under her song the saplings grew and became fair and tall, and came to flower; and thus there awoke in the world the Two Trees of Valinor. Of all things which Yavanna made they have most renown, and about their fate all the tales of the Elder Days are woven.
The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadow of his fluttering leaves. The other bore leaves of a young green like the new-opened beech; their edges were of glittering gold. Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground; and from the blossom of that tree there came forth warmth and a great light. Telperion the one was called in Valinor, and Silpion, and Ninquelótë, and many other names; but Laurelin the other was, and Malinalda, and Culúrien, and many names in song beside.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, “Of the Beginning of Days”
I felt like I was sort of disappearing. It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.