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In the middle of the Victorian era, in the years immediately following the opening of the British Museum Reading Room, the difficulty of preventing unauthorised entry was a constant source of concern. Pages were found missing from reference books ; the Keeper of Printed Books suspected that readers had taken them to the lavatories and ripped pages out there. It was not until 1873 that a regulation was introduced requiring all readers to show their tickets on entry to the Reading Room (afterwards substantially modified because of protests by readers) and a police officer was employed to patrol the Reading Room and guard against theft. In spite of all these measures taken to meet the emergency, the use of manuscripts in the main Reading Room exposed them to great risk : Royal Ms. 16 E. VIII disappeared altogether and it was declared officially missing from the collection on 23rd June 1879. I've been able to trace the story of the fate of this MS stolen from the British Museum when a German gentleman consulted it from the last time, and the mystery surrounding the manuscript today. A mystery with a dash of memoir, a story of intellectual guerrilla, of wartime betrayal, and a horrifying tale of Prussia's darkest years.

REFERENCES For more information, please read my articles and books :

2008 A Clue to the Fate of the lost Ms. Royal 16 E VIII, in «Romania, revue trimestrielle», T. 126: No. 1/2, pp. 245-252.

2005 "Ja ne m'en turnerai trescque l'avrai trovez". Ricerche attorno al ms. Royal 16 E. VIII, testimone unico del Voyage de Charlemagne, e contributi per una nuova edizione del poema. 2005 Il manoscritto perduto del Voyage de Charlemagne, Il codice Royal 16 E VIII della British Library, Salerno Editrice, Roma.

2019 The Lost Manuscript Royal 16 E VIII, [forthcoming book.]


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