"Manuscripts don't burn." - Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita.

What he was of course referring to was that though you can kill a writer and shut down his publisher and yea, even burn his books, the text survives in the minds of its readers, because even a totalitarian government like Stalinst Russia in which he lived is incapable of destroying an idea.

A hand written, hand typed or otherwise unique book or other written work.

The word manuscript emphases a book's unique properties, whether it is a illuminated, copied-by-hand, pre-Gutenberg bible, the copy of a play or novel that a hopeful amateur has submitted to a publisher in the hopes of discovering in themselves the next John Grisham or a private hand written diary kept by a housewife documenting her inner thoughts that's only discovered by her family after she passes away.

Qualities that don't make a work a manuscript include hand bookbinding (because this doesn't influence the intellectual content of the work) and very high quality printing (this influences the market price of the work, not its intellectual content).

Man"u*script (?), a. [L. manu scriptus. See Manual, and Scribe.]

Written with or by the hand; not printed; as, a manuscript volume.


© Webster 1913.

Man"u*script, n. [LL. manuscriptum, lit., something written with the hand. See Manuscript, a.]


A literary or musical composition written with the hand, as distinguished from a printed copy.


Writing, as opposed to print; as, the book exists only in manuscript.


⇒ The word is often abbreviated to MS., plural MSS.


© Webster 1913.

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