Matthew Paris's Chronica Majora in Corpus Christi College Library, MS26 is a history of the world from the creation of the world up to 1253. It's also kind of medieval moveable book. It could even be the first ever moveable book, as Emily Martin the printer and book artist argues. 

That's a big claim, considering all the many and varied non-codex book formats that have existed from the earliest times. But anyway, in terms of quirky pages it's got it all: volvelles, flaps, erasure, holes and unreadable text. The holes weren't Paris's work, to be fair. They're parchment holes resulting from flaws in the hide of animal, and the unreadable text is manuscript waste used as endpapers. But still, the whole thing is a beautiful combination of accident and design.

The most striking thing is Paris's inventive use of pagespace. Writing before the modern conventions of the page were set, he's free to innovate in order to convey complex kinds of information. The start of the chronicle charts a pilgrimage route from London to Jerusalem, which requires the reader to travel down one side of the page and then up the other, turn over and repeat, until the destination is reached. It is part map, part text, and part illustration. There are flaps stitched on where more space was needed - he has a lot to say about Rome, so it has fold out text, and there is a strangely shaped flap at the top, corresponding (I think?) to Sicily. It was written in the thirteenth century, but its innovative layout makes it resemble something between a fold out map, a board game, a diagram, or the graphic novels of Chris Ware.

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