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VMs: text analysis, art of memory, book binding
Some misc. thoughts.
I've been following the recent recurring string etc
discussions. Interesting, but my two cents - after
having done months of text analysis of various sorts
of correlations and what not - is to work on a known
language first. Well, first, have an idea of what you
are looking to discover (i.e. "what are the recurring
strings") and then go after a text in your native
tongue. Then a few other texts of different types
(poetry, children's book, scientific text, fictional
novel). Then pick a few common languages (English and
Latin at least, French, German, Italian, and keep
going) and do the same. THEN, try it on the VMS and
see what, if anything, is statistically signficant.
It's a much more boring way to go, but saves you from
doing a ton of work on the VMS drawing conclusions
that look promising, just to find out that it's a
common pattern in normal languages.
Art of Memory:
Got the Yates book and almost done reading it. Very
interesting and highly recommended for any who haven't
read it. I doubt it will break open the VMS for me :)
since many others have tread this path, but it does
provide a much greater understanding of medieval and
Renaissance thought around the time the VMS was
probably written. A depressing thought from reading it
(and in general exploring alchemy, occult, religious,
etc etc of these eras) is the huge amount of overlap,
borrowing and parallels between disciplines and
schools of thought - hard to every pick out a single
idea or image and say that it is definitely...
something (i.e. "this is definitely an alchemic image
used only between 1500 and 1550 in Venice"). An
uplifting thought, though, was noticing how much
authors blantantly copied one another - often word for
word and diagram for diagram. Which leads to some hope
with the VMS - the obvious "word for word" parallel is
out, but retains the hope that we might find a single
diagram (or clear case of assembled diagrams) that we
can link directly to another source and possibly find
a key that deciphers "word for word" the VMS in that
section and so unlocks the rest.
Also building a copy of the VMS. HIGHLY recommended.
Using an Epson ink jet printer and glossy (only kind I
could easily find) photo paper. It's going to set me
back about $150. Printing out each recto and verso at
real size (closest to 9 inches tall i can get) and
assembling the bifolios, then the bifolios into
quires. Really gets you to look at each page and see
the manuscript as a whole (and how much of it is
devoted to the herbal). And also understand just how
small things are - viewing them on zoom on the screen
all the time tends to distort things. I know others
have done this exercise with similar advice - I'm just
chiming in to encourage anyone who hasn't to do so.
It's not a quick project :) but enjoyable (and it will
make a very cool coffee table book :). BTW, I have
been successful up to making the quires, but does
anyone have advice on how to bind the quires into a
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