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VMs: Re: VMS Quires
> [John Grove:] A real problem is posed by the foldouts. Why are
> they there in the first place?
Probably for a mix of reasons.
As you say, the author probably used fold-outs because he wanted to
display more than two pages simultaneously, either because of a large
figure (such as the 9-rosette diagram) or a bunch of figures/tables
that he felt would be consulted at the same time (such as the
astrological diagrams and the plant "indices" in the pharma section).
This is one of the reasons why there are fold-outs in modern books and
magazines (such as the sky charts in Sky&Telescope, and that famous
example in Playboy.)
Another possible reaon is just aesthetics/impact: a book with
fold-outs --- superfluous or not --- is certainly more impressive and
memorable than a plain one. Fold-out ads in modern magazines would be
a modern instance of this motive.
Indeed, the reason may have been pure marketing, i.e. an attempt to
make the book look more impressive-looking and hence more appealing to
the intended buyers.
> Did the author only have some leftover pieces of vellum that
> could not be cut to the proper size?
That may have been a reason for some fold-out sheets that don't quite make
two sheets -- like f69/70, f87/90, f88/f89, f94/95, f99/102, f100/101.
Cutting them to size would have wasted a good bit of vellum.
(Anyone knows how much a sheet of vellum of that size would cost, in
meaningful terms? My guess --- based only on the amount of work needed
for manufacture --- is that it would be on the same ballpark as a
bottle of wine, a leather purse, a cab ride across town, etc.. I.e., not
really expensive, but neither as cheap as paper is to us today.)
> I'm beginning to thank that oaf for fouling up the numbering. It
> gives us some hard evidence that the pages were there despite
> the overall order, and that the pages were bound when he
> numbered them because he didn't bother to unfold them from the
> book - he just merrily went on numbering the top right corner of
> every recto page as he flipped the corners to mark them.
I don't think he should be called a "oaf" for that. Notice that he was
numbering *folios* (leafable/thumbable things), not pages.
The purpose of folio (or page) numbers is to quickly jump to a
specific place in the book; for that purpose, the numbers are best
placed where they can be seen while leafing or thumbing through the
book, *with the fold-outs closed*.
Quire numbers, on the other hand, are usually meant to avoid confusion
during (re)binding, and for that they can be placed at any fixed
position on the outside of the quire. Since they are useless after
binding, quire numbers tend to be written in inconspicuous places ---
such as the bottom margin, near the binding. Note also that quire
numbers are useful even when the binder and the quire-numberer are the
If the manuscript existed for some extended period as a collection of
loose leaves, the quire numbers may also have been meant to avoid
mix-ups. However, they seem to be a bit inadequate for that purpose;
folio numbers would have been more logical.
> I think the pages weren't necessarily in the right order when
> the foliator did his job which makes it difficult to measure
> where the transition in language sets may have actually taken
Yes, that is almost certainly the case.
> I think we have evidence of one author (okay I'll give a little
> on that), one quire-maker (possibly the author), and one
> foliator that couldn't read the of anyone that could read the
> book either.
I think it is quite posible that the quire-numberer and the
folio-numberer were the same person; and I would be surprised if they
turned out to be the VMS author himself.
All the best,