When a book is more than just a place to extract information from, you have licence to adorn it with what others may view as useless decoration. Form itself does have meaning: seemingly extraneous things add to and frame the narrative.
For many, seeing the Book of Kells or the Chi-Rho page of the Lindisfarne Gospels, will appreciate that such a thing is physically beautiful, but they will also protest to themselves that so much expense can be put into what evidently but a practical repository in flesh (literally, for books of vellum) for what is in spirit, the disembodied words themselves. After such a realization, the only redeeming quality they see in old books like this is ‘the devotion the makers must have had for God’.
But in the changed cosmos, the Word becomes flesh, and faith becomes works. In bringing this Kingdom, Jesus the Christ seems to assume that after seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, we will still have abundance enough for all the other things we like to worry about. To the practicalists, this is crazy talk, but we need to learn a better way to judge what ‘waste’ is.
With that, I attach an English paper of mine on King Lear (pdf) if anyone’s interested, just because it was fun for me to write last semester: Aesthetically ‘Enough’ for Lear’s ‘Need’.