I am going to be reading the James Joyce book Ulysses for a few months. As well as a used edition of Ulysses itself, I bought a secondary explanatory reference called The New Bloomsday Book to help with Joyce’s allusions and word games that he was so fond of, and I decided that I would probably be making a lot of notes, so made myself a small notebook. I cannot stand it when people write or use a highlighter in books, as it ruins the readability of the text, so I prefer to make notes on paper.
I used white photocopy paper in legal 8.5 x 14-inch size, cut it down the middle, and then folded the folios lengthwise so I got a finished page size of 4.25 x 7 inches. The signatures were then sewn and a cheesecloth hinge put on the block of paper. I decided to use Canson Colorline paper for the cover and endpapers in heather and violet colours, with scraps of a nice scrapbooking paper to reinforce the spine and corners.
After searching through a book on illuminated manuscripts from my collection, I came across a reproduction showing some scenes and symbolism from The Odyssey by Homer, upon which the Joyce book is based, so I printed part of the manuscript and used it to illustrate the cover.
On the left is the scene where Odysseus gets Polyphemus the cyclops drunk and then blinds him. On the right, Odysseus then escapes the cave of the now blind Polyphemus by hiding himself on the body of the bellwether, and in the centre, Odysseus plugs the crew’s ears with wax and lashes himself to the mast of their ship so that the song of the sirens cannot lure them to their deaths.
The manuscript is in Greek, and was created in Italy before the year 1500. I like the calligraphy snippet in the centre of the page.
I’m having fun fiddling around waiting for my used books to arrive.