A Pleasant Surprise from Kindle

I finally got my birthday Kindle in the mail yesterday.  Hooray!

I didn’t realize it until I got one, but when Kindles go into sleep mode, they display one of twenty-five preloaded screensaver images.  And the first one mine showed me? Behold:

The two greatest innovations in publishing this year.

A black and white reproduction of the first page of the gospel of John from the Lindisfarne Gospels.  Here’s a much bigger and colorer copy of the same:

As the tag at the bottom of the digital reproduction indicates, this end of the 7th-/beginning of the 8th-century masterpiece is currently held by the British Library. You can see further selections in the library’s “Turning the Pages” online exhibit.

And those of you not fully up to speed on your Hiberno-Saxon decorative script, the text reads:

In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus…


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God…

I hope Amazon has it rigged so that’s the first sleep screen shown to all Kindlites.  So appropriately suggestive of new digital worlds where words are once more disconnected from merely physical instantiation…

P.S. Poking around today looking for a good image of a Kindle I discovered it’s fairly easy to hack the Kindle to replace the default screensaver with your own images.  So I think I might throw together a collection of 24 additional medieval images to join Lindisfarne on my Kindle, and when I do, I’ll post it here so others can download it as well.  Check back later this week.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wacky Hermit

    "Colorer"?? I believe the correct word is "colorier". Or maybe "coloreder". 😉

  • Got Medieval

    Australian vs South African usage, I'd imagine.

  • Duncan

    Interesting, I would say "color copy". I'm American. I wouldn't say colorer (which isn't even a word in American English as far as I know) except to describe someone who colors.

    Unless what your sentence meant was that it is both "bigger" and "more colored" that the Kindle image, then I might also have used colorer.

  • Leatherworking Reverend

    Duncan, you'll be telling us "embiggen" isn't a word next. I'm sure the Australian usage of colourer has the "u" although the Big Mac no doubt will say that either are permissible.

  • julaybib

    Contemplating getting a Kindle. Books increase in number, but sadly not bricks.

  • The Apprentice

    I have a Kobo, which displays whatever books you were reading last when you power it down.

    Medieval images would be much prettier, though.

  • Bill DeVoe

    That is a surprisingly cool thing to do. I wonder if they do something where they show the progression of books throughout the ages as the screensavers are activated. And if not, then I think I have a new screensaver for Windows! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing (and translating – I'm still rusty with my decorative script :).

  • The Questing Damosel

    hmm… I've been toying with the idea of an e-reader (as my bookshelves are beginning to sag, yet again, from the weight, not to mention the inexplicable high cost of shipping books across the pond) despite my love of paper books and my hatred of reading off a computer screen, and have been debating between the Kindle and just caving in and getting an iPad. I can't, however, find the moral depravity to justify spending over $400 for a toy that will be used mostly to read PDFs (since I can't seem to actually part with my paper books, coffee stains and all).

    This post pretty much sold me on the Kindle, I must say. I doubt Apple would have such an excellently cool screen to welcome me!

    Can I say again – you're my hero??


  • P. M. Doolan

    You might already be aware of this but over 600 medieval manuscripts from Swiss libraries have been digitalised and are avaivable for non-commercial use, including over 300 manuscripts from the UNESCO World Heritage recognised library of the abbey of St. Gallen. You can find them all at:

  • Dana Huff

    I can't remember for sure if this was the first sleep mode image I saw on my Kindle, but it was the first I remembered. How cool to know what it is! And how appropriate for the Kindle.

  • Maria

    I found this blog today, and I'm delightedly looking forward to many happy hours of procrastinatory reading.

  • Got Medieval

    The Kindle screens are coming. Just slowly!

  • Pingback: Your Kindle’s Medieval Manuscript Makeover Awaits — Got Medieval

  • Cathy LinguisticMom

    Thank you for posting this! Looking for the kindle pic origin at 2:00 am with my 18 year old son. Proved that I am still at least occasionally useful.

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