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Leith on language: The joy of an unreadable book

"The cleverest people in the world have worked on Voynich for centuries, and it still defiantly resists interpretation"

By Sam Leith   February 2017

Tom Haine/Wikimedia Commons

The Christmas break has given me the chance to settle down with a good book. Just published by Yale University Press, the lavish coffee-table reproduction of Beinecke MS 408 (or the Voynich Manuscript to its friends) is as handsome a new book as you could own.

And this medieval beauty has it all: fold-out sections, delicate illustrations of plants, astrological charts, what look to be alchemical recipes, and—in the so-called “balneological” section—young ladies in a state of undress in pools of green water. But…

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