"How the Irish Saved Civilization" -and- "Ulysses"
From "How the Irish Saved Civilization", on what it was like to be a scribal scholar in Ireland, circa 9 c.
They did not see themselves as drones. Rather, they engaged the text they were working on, tried to comprehend it after their fashion, and, if possible, add to it, even improve on it. In this dazzling new culture, a book was not an isolated document on a dusty shelf; book truly spoke to book, and writer to scribe, and scribe to reader, from one generation to the next. These books were, as we would say in today's jargon, open, interfacing, and intertextual--glorious literary smorgasbords in which the scribe often tried to include a bit of everything, from every era, language and style known to him. No one would see their like again till James Joyce would write Ulysses.