The World’s Most Mysterious Manuscript: Theories on Its Origin and Use
Presented by Ray Clemens, Curator of Early Books & Manuscripts, Yale University
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 6:00 pm
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library
Ray Clemens will talk about the Voynich manuscript, an early 15th-century codex that has been called the world’s most mysterious book. The book was written by hand in an unknown language that no one has yet been able to decipher. Colorful illustrations of unidentifiable plants, zodiac signs, astronomical and cosmological diagrams, and naked women in bathing pools add to the mystery.
Clemens is the editor of The Voynich Manuscript, which was published by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Yale University Press in 2016. The facsimile volume, with new color photographs of the original manuscript and reproductions of its unusual folded sections, includes six essays that provide historical, cryptographic, forensic, and alchemical perspectives on the manuscript’s origins, owners, and meaning. The manuscript can also be viewed online.
Ray Clemens is the Curator, Early Books & Manuscripts at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. He previously served as Acting Director of the Newberry Library’s Center for Renaissance Studies and was an Associate Professor of History at Illinois State University. Clemens is the co-author, with Timothy Graham, of Introduction to Manuscript Studies. His research interests include medieval hagiography, Renaissance cartography, and the history of the book.
The presentation is sponsored by UVM Special Collections and the College of Arts and Sciences Medieval Studies Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 656-2138.
Illustration credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University