Academic phenomena such as inaugural and valedictory lectures traditionally end up in what looks like slim mousy-grey exercise books. Invited to Amsterdam to give the first Frederik Muller Lecture, Cambridge book historian David McKitterick examined the present state of bibliographical research when compared with the nineteenth century, the time of the great bibliographer Muller. The resulting exercise book does full justice to the subject.
The main text comes to us in an inherently narrow typeface set in such a colossal size that text almost becomes image. Footnotes and biographical sketches are accommodated in a sort of hard shoulder or escape lane, in the colour that gave rubricators their name.
Entirely after the fashion of the early twenty-first century the cahier is interleaved with smaller and thinner pages, which in this case also have a smoother surface. This is where the pictures are. The author accompanies them with long captions so that here too the right atmosphere of bookishness prevails. The panel were much taken with this.
In all its institutional ambition, this is a happy marriage of centuries-old formal elements and the possibilities afforded by modern technologies.