A Celebration of a Year’s Work: A Medieval Invisibility Cloak

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Yesterday was my last day’s work at the British Library in my role as Research Associate on the Digital Index of Middle English Verse. To celebrate, I thought that I’d just make a short post that revels in what has been undoubtedly my favourite element of the past year: the fact that almost every one of the three hundred manuscript books that I’ve taken into my hands has presented a little surprise – something unexpected that has brightened my day. My last day at work gave me a particularly lovely one of these moments. I leafed through British Library, MS Royal 17 A.III, a book comprising mainly medical recipes of the fifteenth century. I stopped still when I noticed a sixteenth-century annotation in the margin that read:

‘For Invisibility’

Wait, what?

This was particularly interesting, as the other recipes in the book are the usual types that one finds…

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