BB-8 Donatus: Ars minor (Fragment.)

If the poor survival of these ephemeral publications can be deemed sufficient to allow a judgement at all, then the block-book editions of the Ars minor served to reinforce the production of typographically printed schools books, rather than being, as was once thought, their precursors. There were more than 350 typographic editions of this text during the incunable period; [see Bod-inc D-124 and following]. These leaves are from the Ulm blockbook edition, which was printed on large paper with generous margins and would have displayed an elaborate woodcut border on its opening page. Evidently there was thought to be a market for a fine edition of such an elementary school text, notwithstanding its utilitarian function. In this particular version of the Donatus, the xylographic text reproduced a handwritten, as distinct from a typographic exemplar.

[Ulm: Conrad Dinckmut, c.1476/80]. Chancery folio

A perfect copy of the xylographic 27-line edition would consist of 26 leaves, all with xylographic text, and with a decorative border on the first leaf. The Bodleian's is one of 10 recorded fragments of this edition.

COPY: 2 leaves, the first wanting the first line of text and beginning terito imp(er)fecto vtina(m) legerem legeres legeret Et | pluraliter vtina(m) legeremus, the second beginning plusq(ua)m p(er)fecto cum latus essem vel fuissem esses; probably fols 20 and 26 of the 26-leaf edition.

Shelfmark: Auct. 2Q inf. 1.50.(14).

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