Making Digital Marks on Medieval Manuscripts
Edited By Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel
Chapter 5. Envisioning an Annotated Environment: The Roman de la Rose Digital Library
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ENVISIONING AN ANNOTATED ENVIRONMENT
The Roman de la Rose Digital Library
In the Roman de la Rose the Lover describes the two crystals he saw on the bed of the Spring of Narcissus (see Figure 5.1). Here is the description of them as translated by Frances Horgan:
Down at the bottom of the spring were two crystals, which I gazed at most attentively. And I shall tell you something that will, I think, seem marvellous to you when you hear it. When the all-seeing sun sends down its rays into the spring, and light descends into its depths, more than a hundred colours appear in the crystal, which turns blue and yellow and red in the sunlight. The crystal is so marvellous and has such power that the whole place, with its trees and flowers and everything adorning the garden, is revealed there in due order. To help you understand the phenomenon I shall give you an illustration. Just as things placed in front of a mirror are reflected in it, and their appearance and colour are seen quite plainly, exactly so, I assure you, does the crystal truly disclose the whole of the garden to him who gazes into the water. For whichever side he is on, he can always see half of the garden, and by turning he is at once able to see the remainder. And so there is nothing so small, so secret,...
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