Sorenson (2023 Congress)

David W. Sorenson
(Allen Berman Numismatist)

“Some Medieval Islamic Bookbindings:
A Ghost Story”

Abstract of Paper
presented at the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies
(Kalamazoo, 2023)

Session on “Bound But Not Gagged: The Eloquence of Medieval Book Bindings”
Part 2 (of 2):  “Diverse Regional Techniques”

Organized by William H. Campbell
Co-organized by Mildred Budny

Co-Sponsored by the RGME and
the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS)

2023 Congress Program



Given the generally flimsy nature of bookbindings in the Islamic world, early bindings of well-consulted texts are uncommon, and rebound, or simply disbound, examples are all too common. Occasionally remnants of the earlier bindings remain, whether as sewing-holes and threads, remnants of binding boards — often made up of pressed leaves of earlier MSS material — or as flyleaves remaining from the earlier bindings.

In this paper we will examine some examples of these “ghost bindings”, to see what we can learn from them.


David has frequently participated in RGME Sessions at the ICMS, and at our events elsewhere.  We thank him for his contributions.

For example: