3.123 print and paper, cont. (30)
Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@VM.EPAS.UTORONTO.CA)
Wed, 14 Jun 89 21:23:37 EDT
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 123. Wednesday, 14 Jun 1989.
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 89 03:43:04 CST
From: "Robin C. Cover" <ZRCC1001@SMUVM1>
Subject: WRITING ON PAPER IS LATE
Apropos of Robert Amsler's query on "uses of paper for writing,"
I feel obligated to remind us that writing on paper is quite a late
innovation. The cuneiform and hieroglyphic traditions of the third
and second millennia (B.C.E.) already employed a wide range of these
"devices" in other written media (clay, stone, wax, metal; later on
parchment, papyrus, leather and so forth). Most canonical texts had
colophons, for example, containing incipits and catch-lines, dates,
names of owner(s) and scribe(s), number-of-lines and other cataloging
devices. There were conventions for glosses and annotations in
bi-lingual texts; several commentary genres; acrostic literature with
hidden meanings; inscribed liver models for extispicy; mystical, magical
and ceremonial texts with specified layout; annalistic writing on
monumental inscriptions where two-dimensional representational art was
to be "read" along with cuneiform text; elaborate permutations for
syllabaries and (multi-lingual) lexical lists. In short, the genres and
writing conventions of high antiquity are as varied and complex as
the are in modern times.