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The Voynich manuscript / edited by Raymond Clemens ; with an introduction by Deborah Harkness.

Clemens, Raymond, 1966-

About this work


Many call the fifteenth-century codex, commonly known as the "Voynich Manuscript," the world's most mysterious book. Written in an unknown script by an unknown author, the manuscript has no clearer purpose now than when it was rediscovered in 1912 by rare books dealer Wilfrid Voynich. The manuscript appears and disappears throughout history, from the library of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to a secret sale of books in 1903 by the Society of Jesus in Rome. The book's language has eluded decipherment, and its elaborate illustrations remain as baffling as they are beautiful. For the first time, this facsimile, complete with elaborate folding sections, allows readers to explore this enigma in all its stunning detail, from its one-of-a-kind "Voynichese" text to its illustrations of otherworldly plants, unfamiliar constellations, and naked women swimming though fantastical tubes and green baths. The essays that accompany the manuscript explain what we have learned about this work--from alchemical, cryptographic, forensic, and historical perspectives--but they provide few definitive answers. Instead, as New York Times best-selling author Deborah Harkness says in her introduction, the book "invites the reader to join us at the heart of the mystery."


New Haven : Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library in association with Yale University Press, [2016]

Physical description

xvii, 240 unnumbered pages, 66 pages : color illustrations, portraits, facsimiles ; 31 cm


Introduction / Deborah Harkness -- Preface / Raymond Clemens -- The Voynich Manuscript -- Earliest owners / René Zandbergen -- Voynich the Buyer / Arnold Hunt -- Physical findings / Paula Zyats [and five others] -- Cryptographic attempts / William Sherman -- Alchemical traditions / Jennifer M. Rampling -- The world's most mysterious manuscript / Raymond Clemens -- Chronology -- Contributors -- Acknowledgements -- Index.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • English


Permanent link



  • 0300217234
  • 9780300217230

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