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Breve storia del segnalibro (A Brief History of the Bookmark)

From Saint Augustine, who used his finger to mark the page, to the famous writer Alessandro Manzoni; from the visionary painter Arcimboldo down to the present time with its ebooks, the history of the bookmark, an object dear to every reader\’s heart, unfolds here through a series of captivating anecdotes and curiosities. But now tell me: When you have to temporarily close your book what do you use to mark the page and return to it whenever you like? Have you ever paid attention to what kind of object you use? A bus ticket? A dried flower? A silk ribbon? Between a makeshift bookmark such as a dogear (an ordinary but despicable gesture) and one made instead from precious material and regarded as a collectible piece, there is a great difference; actually they are a whole world apart. A world which deserves more than a classification out of mere curiosity, in fact the bookmark should be condidered as a philosophical element.With this very term the author, Massimo Gatta, a well known expert in paratextual elements, describes the bookmark which is, first, a philosophical element and then a material one. With its precise historical perspective, its accurate notes and rich bibliography, this limpid and precious essay delves, without ever being pedantic or boring, into a subject rarely dealt with.

Gatta Massimo

Massimo Gatta (Naples, 1959) works as a librarian at the University of Molise. He is also a scholar in various fields such as history of publishing (specialised in 20th century), private typography, bibliography, business graphics, library history and history of paper. In addition, he’s an expert in the paratextual elements of books and has curated several bibliographic exibitions.