39TH SAINT LOUIS CONFERENCE ON MANUSCRIPT STUDIES
SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY
12–13 OCTOBER 2012
FRIDAY, 12 October 2012
Père Marquette Gallery, DuBourg Hall, 2nd flr.
Registration and Breakfast – 8:00am
Opening Remarks – 8:50am
Session I – 9:00am
Organizer: Susan L’Engle (Saint Louis University)
- Rethinking Artistic Skill: Craft and Virtue in “On Diverse Arts”
Heidi Gearhart (Busch-Reisinger museum, Harvard Art Museums)
Because so few texts on art survive from the High Middle Ages, the practice of art-making remains a mysterious activity. The medieval artist is assumed to be a humble artisan, his guiding principles ascribed to the necessities of craft or to religious imperative. Theophilus’s On Diverse Arts has long been treasured as a technical resource, but it is often thought to be a compilation or a collection of recipes, an unlearned text that confirms the myth of the medieval artist as a pious, humble craftsman. A close look at the text and surviving manuscripts reveals a different story. I argue that On Diverse Arts is in fact a carefully composed, highly learned treatise with a clear narrative and agenda. Manuscript evidence shows it to be a sophisticated treatise that follows the tradition of Vitruvius, while textual evidence suggests we read Theophilus alongside Augustine. In this paper I focus on Theophilus’s descriptions of technique and examine his concept of artistic skill in relation to twelfth-century pedagogy and Augustinian spirituality. When read within the context of twelfth-century thought, a new understanding of the treatise begins to emerge and a sophisticated concept of artistic skill becomes evident.
- Early Medieval Written Craft Recipes as Sources for Historical Research
Thea Burns (Independent Scholar)
To identify the materials of medieval artifacts scholars often refer to manuscripts where short texts (called recipes) describing art technical processes survive. They have rarely been properly catalogued, edited or studied. Paleographers and philologists believe that the earliest extant recipes date from the 2nd millennium BCE and examples have been identified as late as the 16th century CE; similarities between earlier and later recipes suggest a continuity of tradition over millennia. Early medieval recipes are scattered in the margins and blank spaces of manuscripts or gathered in compilations; important compilations include the Compositiones variae (c. 787–816 CE), the Mappae clavicula, and the De coloribus et artibus Romanorum (10th cent.). This paper will explore the benefits of appreciating these artefacts and their texts as historical documents. “The meaning of a text will be misunderstood without careful, detailed attention to the evidence of the physical object that preserves that text and to the fabric of meaning that exists within the cultures to which that text belonged initially and later” (P. Long). Until we attend to these, we use these texts as research resources at our peril.
- “It’s Not Easy Being Green”: A Technical and Cultural Study of Green Pigments Used in Illuminated Manuscripts at the Fitzwilliam Museum
Kristine Rose (The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)
Green is the colour of nature, Islam, environmentalism, spring, and hope. Additional connotations include youth, growth, money, and Saint Patrick, but also sickness, bad luck, and envy. In manuscript illuminations green is common, but it has not always been an easy colour to achieve or an easy material to stabilise. Historically, artists have used both natural and synthetic, organic and inorganic “‘real” green pigments, as well as a range of mixtures of yellow and blue, to obtain their preferred shades of green. In many artifacts, green-coloured areas present significant deterioration issues. In the case of copper-containing greens, these include damage to the substrate caused by shadowing, strike-through and in severe cases, losses to the paper or parchment. Identification of the nature of the green pigments used by the artist thus enables conservator to carry out informed and sympathetic conservation treatments. Using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS), we have undertaken a non-invasive survey of the pigments used in a large number of illuminated manuscripts in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. This paper will present the results of analytical investigations carried out on green-coloured areas, a comparison with analytical data reported in previous publications, and a brief survey of recipes for making green pigments contained in technical treatises. Our goal is to offer a contextualized study of the use of green pigments in illuminated manuscripts with a focus on French illumination between the 13th and the 15th century, but allowing for comparisons with contemporary Italian and British manuscripts, as well as with Islamic manuscript material. The specific information gathered on the manuscripts at the Fitzwilliam Museum will also be used to inform their future long-term preservation.
Morning Break – 10:30am
Session II – 11:00am
The Art and Science of the Body
Organizer: Ruth Evans (Saint Louis University)
- Keeping Time: Diagrammatic Bodies in Medieval English Medicine
Julie Orlemanski (Boston College)
What is the temporality of the human figure? Different medieval styles of representation offer varying answers to the question. My paper examines those bodies most frequently portrayed in late-medieval medical manuscripts in England—namely the “diagrammatic bodies” of the Zodiac Man, the Wound Man, and the Bloodletting Man. In this paper, I will compare these diagrammatic bodies to three other sorts of contemporary medical illumination: anatomical studies, pictures accompanying surgical works, and the calendars, tables, and volvelles that “kept time” alongside diagrammatic bodies. Among these sorts of images, anatomical diagrams were least numerous. More common were surgical illuminations, which tended to give surgeons’ instruments at least as much attention as patients’ bodies. Tables and charts were quite common, but these did not have the aesthetic or phenomenological charge that comes from depicting the human figure. In this constellation of medical image-making, I focus primarily on the Zodiac Man, a diagrammatic body that appears frequently in portable “physicians’ calendars,” such as British Library Harley 5311, Sloane 2250, and Sloane 2465. Given evidence of these calendars’ impressive aesthetic effects, over and above their informational function, what can we say about the style and meaning of the Zodiac Man? Specifically, I explore how diagrammatic bodies “keep time” in the context of medieval medical textuality.
- Image and Text in Early Fourteenth-Century Wound Men
Ashley Nolan (Saint Louis University)
The medieval physician and surgeon Guy de Chauliac notes of various wounds in Book II of his Cyrurgie the following: “Of a wounde, as ben sharpe þinges and kyttinge, as an arwe or a swerde. Þirstinge togidre or brusinge ben harde þinges and heuy, as stones and þikke gobates.” [Margaret S. Ogden, ed., The Cyrurgie of Guy De Chauliac, Early English Text Society (Series) 265 (New York, 1971), 11–13.] The “sharpe” and “kyttinge” nature of the arrows and swords in this passage bring to light the severity of physical wounds. Medieval anatomical images reflect a similar concern for the body’s capacity to be ill or injured in the illustrations of Wound Man, a popular late medieval anatomical image that tallies cramps, boils, blemishes, warts, ruptures, scorpion stings, sword wounds, arrow wounds, tumors, and warts, to name a few. Each Wound Man image uses textual labels to complement the larger illustration, although there is a tendency for historians of the body to neglect the range of discourses embedded in this text-image relationship. In this paper I will argue for the importance of analyzing the relationship between this text and image and deduce the range of medical discourses in select examples of this popular late medieval Wound Man.
- Ineffable Flesh: Artistic Imagination and Ethereal Beings in Late Medieval Manuscripts
Sherry C.M. Lindquist (Western Illinois University)
Theologians in the Christian West expressed all sorts of anxiety about representing ineffable beings. Augustine of Hippo maintained that the Trinity cannot be adequately expressed in words and should not be pictured at all. And yet, Bernard McGinn has shown that theologians like Hildegard of Bingen, Joachim of Fiore and Henry Suso attempted to convey divine indescribability through pictures made primarily to be consumed in literate ecclesiastical contexts. Furthermore, lay artists produced an increasing number of images for a lay audience keen to behold the Divine. This paper analyzes select cases in which lay artists struggled to represent properly what was beyond words, producing unusual images that functioned as vernacular glosses on Latinate theological precepts, which showcased their talents and even promulgated potentially controversial and unorthodox theological ideas.
Luncheon – 12:30pm
Local restaurants are posted on the following website: Visiting SLU
Session III – 2:00pm
Organizer: David Gura (University of Notre Dame)
- The Intrusion of Documentary Scripts into Book Hands of School Texts: A Case Study
David Gura (University of Notre Dame)
This paper will examine the intrusion of documentary script into the book hands of school texts. Identifying script types in school texts is often problematic since many “rules” are often broken when dealing with manuscripts of a lower level of production, or those intended for a strictly utilitarian purpose. Letter forms, ligatures, methods of abbreviation, levels of execution, treatment of descenders, and other particular features of the script will be examined in detail. As monastic book production began to receive competition from the laity, especially in the Twelfth Century Renaissance, school texts were often written by pupils themselves, rather than by religious as a spiritual activity or professional scribes for profit. Instances of “intrusion” of documentary scripts into book hands (a category which largely includes artificial means of writing) will provide a broader frame in which to contextualize certain manuscripts. The intent is not to establish a particular “university script,” but rather to allow a view into the environments in which these types of manuscripts were produced, identify who the scribes were, and why they were writing or learning to write. It will be shown that the documentary scripts do not necessarily intrude into book hands, but rather exert a strong influence over them. The sample of manuscripts will cover s. XIIex through s. XIVin, with a particular focus on those written in France during the late twelfth through thirteenth century. These manuscripts will be drawn from two distinct sources to aid in comparative analysis. The first group will use documents known to have been written in the period and area to establish what exactly a “documentary script” is; the second group will be constituted from manuscripts which transmit select commentaries of Arnulf of Orléans. Arnulf’s commentaries are known to have originated at St. Euverte in the Loire Valley (ca. 1170) and were widely disseminated throughout the schools of France and Italy from the late twelfth through late fifteenth century.
- From Caroline to Gothic: Tracing the Birth of a New Script
Erik Kwakkel (Leiden University)
This paper explores the transition from Carolingian minuscule to Gothic book script, which is arguably one of the most significant developments in the medieval script system. It does so by examining 360 manuscripts written between 1075 and 1225, as present in the Manuscrits datés. Based on this corpus the paper traces the development of three key Gothic features: the emergence of angularity (the "flattening" of round strokes) and biting (overlap of letters), and the positioning of the feet at minims (treated differently by Carolingian and Gothic scribes). To assess the emergence and ultimate establishment of Gothic bookscript the paper will discuss: 1. When and where the key features first emerged; 2. The speed with which scribes adopted them; and 3. The overall trajectory of development, which turns out to be far from fluid.
- Helyas de Bosco, Scribe of the “Lumen confessorum” of Andreas de Escobar (Columbus, OH, William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, MS Lat. 5)
Frank Coulson (The Ohio State University)
MS Lat. 5 of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library contains a copy of the Lumen confessorum of the Spanish prelate Andreas de Escobar. The work was originally written in 1428 to serve as a confessional manual. The manuscript copy at Ohio State is of particular interest for several reasons: we know it was produced at Ferrara in the year 1438 while Andreas was attending the Church council held at that city. More significantly, the colophon of the manuscript tells us that the text was revised by the author (to my knowledge, this is the only copy of the text in existence revised at the hand of the author). And thirdly, the manuscript is signed by the scribe Helyas de Bosco (who is noted in the Colphons de manuscrits occidentaux). To date, little is known about this particular scribe and no studies exist documenting his scribal traits and peculiarities. In this paper, I examine more closely this particular manuscript from a paleographical and codicological perspective. The manuscript is richly decorated with gold-leaf initials and its provenance can be established through the numerous marks of ownership to be found on its flyleaves and binding. The bulk of the paper, however, will be devoted to a closer examination of Helyas de Bosco as scribe: What were his particular and peculiar traits as a scribe? How closely did he adhere to the conventions of the script he was writing? Ultimately, we hope that a close study of the hand will allow for identification of other manuscripts written by the same scribe.
Afternoon Break – 3:30pm
LOWRIE J. DALY, S.J., MEMORIAL LECTURE ON MANUSCRIPT STUDIES – 4:00pm
- David Ganz (Independent Scholar)
The Importance of Half Uncial Script
Of the Latin scripts used in late antiquity half uncial exhibits the most diversity of letter forms. Scholars have explored the varieties of Uncial scripts in use in Lyon, in Rome, in Southern Italy and in England, but half uncial has been neglected. The founding fathers of modern paleography, Delisle and Traube, regarded it as of unique importance in the development of medieval scripts. This lecture will revisit half uncial, revisit the theories of Caroline Bammel about its origins, and suggest ways in which it might be analysed.
Sponsored in association with the Saint Louis University Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Reception – 5:30–7:00pm
Samuel E. Cupples House
SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2012
Père Marquette Gallery, DuBourg Hall, 2nd flr.
Breakfast – 8:30am
Session IV – 9:00am
New Discoveries in Armenian Manuscripts
Organizers: Tamar m. Boyadjian (University of California, Los Angeles)
Sylvie Merian (The Morgan Library & Museum)
- Armenian Prayer Scrolls: “Hmayil” from the Minasian Collection of the University of California, Los Angeles Library
Kristen St. John (University of California, Los Angeles)
Hmayil are Armenian illuminated prayer scrolls that serve as talismans to protect the bearer against evil and danger. The Minasian Collection of the University of California, Los Angeles Library has a considerable number of these scrolls dating from the early 17th to 19th centuries. The Minasian collection contains Armenian, Persian and Arabic materials gathered by Dr. Caro Minasian of Isfahan, Iran in the mid-20th century. The University of California, Los Angeles acquired the collection directly from Dr. Minasian in the late 1960’s. The hmayil in the Minasian Collection range from modest paper fragments to scrolls over twenty feet long. While some contain only text, there are also elaborately illuminated manuscripts that bear the signs of centuries of heavy use and care. Examples of these illuminated scrolls will be considered in this paper. Examination will include an analysis of the paper and adhesives used to make the scrolls and the inks and pigments used to write and illuminate the text. In conjunction with paleographic and colophon information, this material evidence sheds light on who made these scrolls, what resources they required, and how they created them. This close examination allows comparison with other illuminated manuscripts from the same time and location. Hmayil have a distinctly different format and purpose than bound illuminated manuscripts in the Armenian tradition, but there are striking similarities in style and materials used for both. A discussion of the conservation treatments employed to preserve and make them accessible within the University of California, Los Angeles Library and for the greater scholarly community will be shared in conclusion.
- A Recently Discovered Armenian Manuscript among the Caro Minasian “Ephemera” Material at University of California, Los Angeles
Tamar M. Boyadjian (University of California, Los Angeles)
In 1968, the University of California, Los Angeles Young Research Library acquired the collection of an Isfahan-born Armenian physician named Caro Minasian. This diverse and vast collection contains material in the Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, and Armenian languages. In the initial acquisition and housing of the collection, it seems that the manuscripts and early printed books were given particular attention and catalogued within separate collections. A large number of materials pertaining to the Armenians living in Isfahan in the late 19th/early 20th century was grouped under the title of “Ephemera” and stored under a separate collection. This paper will explore the recent discovery of a medieval manuscript among this “Ephemera” material in the Caro Minasian collection at University of California, Los Angeles. My presentation on this manuscript has a number of critical objectives, the first of which pertains to the exposure and analysis of the manuscript itself. In the early section of my paper, I will examine this manuscript from paleographic and codicological perspectives and argue for its multifarious characteristics and techniques. As such, I will connect this manuscript not only to the Armenian tradition, but also to the influence of other neighboring traditions upon its binding and composition. The second part of my paper will then discuss this manuscript within the context of the Armenian “Ephemera” material at University of California, Los Angeles. After providing a brief background on the collection (which includes both the manuscripts and the “Ephemera” material), I will discuss the possible choices of labeling and housing this manuscript among the “Ephemera” material. This discussion will also be paired with a general commentary on the preservation and archiving of Armenian materials and collections, as well as closing remarks on the definition and usage of the term “Ephemera” for both manuscripts and collections such as the ones at University of California, Los Angeles.
- The Society of Foliophiles, Otto Ege, and the Dispersal of Armenian Manuscript Leaves
Sylvie Merian (The Morgan Library & Museum)
In the first half of the twentieth century at least two entities in the United States (The Society of Foliophiles, active in the 1920s, and the famous—or to some, infamous—Otto Ege) bought medieval manuscripts and broke them up to form sets of single leaves, with each set including a leaf from each manuscript. These were aimed for sale to individual collectors or institutions who could not afford to buy complete manuscripts. They were often marketed as educational portfolios to demonstrate the different paleography, scripts, periods, languages, decorative vocabulary, etc. used in the medieval period and later. The leaves were also sold singly. Although most manuscript specialists know of Ege’s western European portfolios (Foliophiles sets seem to be less recognized), their so-called “Oriental” portfolios are not as widely known. I would like to introduce the audience to both the Ege and Foliophiles Oriental collections, which included leaves from Armenian manuscripts, in addition to Persian, Arabic, Syriac, Greek, and Far Eastern examples, and will show examples of the different types of leaves found in these portfolios. However, I will focus on the Armenian leaves; the text of one of the disbound Armenian manuscripts in particular may be of importance for scholarly research. Many of these Armenian manuscript leaves are located in both public and private collections in the United States. I will discuss the problems inherent in tracking them down, provide information on collections known to own these sets, discuss errors in dating perpetuated by the separation of the leaves from the parent manuscripts and from the sets (as well as by misunderstandings by Ege), and finish with a discussion on the ethical questions raised by the breaking up of manuscripts.
Morning Break – 10:30am
Session V – 11:00am
Writing the Scribe
Organizer: Susan L’Engle (Saint Louis University)
- Towards a Portrait of a Late-Medieval Mastermind: Jean Miélot
Elizabeth Moodey (Vanderbilt University)
Jean Miélot, a translator and compiler who also devised the illustrated scratch copies that determined a book’s layout, was the most visual of the small army of scribal talents creating manuscripts for Philip the Good and the Burgundian court. Although Paul Perdrizet worked admirably to establish Miélot’s oeuvre (in a foundational article published in 1907), his assessment of his subject’s skills was disparaging: “mediocre copiste et encore plus médicre enlumineur.” I would like to start with the assumption that if Miélot was working for the one of the greatest bibliophiles of the fifteenth century, Philip the Good, he was at the top of his profession. Literary and art-historical scholarship on Miélot has been channeled toward either his words or his images, which not only misses the richness of his activities but also leaves out crucial decorative and didactic elements in the illustrations he provided, such as figural diagrams and fantastic initials—work that lies between words and images. These elements often fail to catch the attention of art historians because they are not strictly figural, and likewise escape the eye of literary historians because they are not strictly textual. I would like to include in my sketch Miélot’s so-called commonplace book (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 17001), in which he collected designs and worked out translations. My suspicion is that, as well as continuing to slight an unusually inventive talent, we have been imposing modern notions of “artist” and “editor” and “author” on these figures in late-medieval bookmaking, and that the evidence points to something rather different.
- The Role of the Scribe in the Letters of Paul
David Trobisch (American Bible Society)
The collection of letters of Paul in the New Testament preserves information on the role and function of a scribe as it was understood by writers and readers of published letter collections in antiquity. Scribes appear by name and add value to Paul's autographic subscriptions, which are still discernible by readers of the published book. The paper will discuss the text evidence and interpret it in the light of other authentic and fictitious Christian letter collections and relate it to ancient book publishing practices reaching from Cicero to Jerome.
- The Struggles of Scribes: Messages from Late-Medieval Italy
Rebecca W. Corrie (Bates College)
The burgeoning production of illuminated manuscripts in thirteenth-century Italy was driven in part by the emergence of new religious orders and the constant revision of liturgical texts and the large-scale production and transformation of the one-volume Bible. Although many art historians were trained by great paleographers, at times we fail to hear the voices of their scribes as they struggled with new and transformed texts and the constraints of their commissions. This paper explores the ways in which the rate of manuscript production and the changes in liturgy affected the work of scribes, and what their missteps reveal about the significance of the manuscripts themselves. Some scribes managed to provide superb volumes in this period of textual innovation. But others found themselves hamstrung by the changes. In two noted Breviaries in the Vatican Library, notation is either missing or varies between square and Beneventan forms, as scribes waited for new rhythmical feasts. Working with similar texts, the scribe of the Colchester Antiphonary, among the earliest Franciscan antiphonaries entirely in square notation, became lost early in the sanctorale, abruptly abandoned an erroneous text, and then finished the manuscript. Similar combinations of deadlines and innovation apparently resulted in errors and unfinished manuscripts, including the complete omission of rubrics from Conradin Bible painted by the same atelier. Such pressure may have been responsible for the confusion of a rubricator of another Bible painted by these artists now in the Bibliothèque Ste. Genevieve, who became lost in Kings and Chronicles. Finally, the scribe for a luxurious Bible produced at Palermo around 1320, now in the Morgan Library, apologized in Latin for omitting two books of the Bible including Psalms, as he worked from an obsolete and therefore presumably significant exemplar, one that bedeviled the scribe of yet another, lesser-known Bible painted by the same atelier.
Luncheon – 12:30pm
Sinquefield State Room, DuBourg Hall, 4th flr.
Session VI – 1:45pm
Work in Progress
Organizer: Susan L’Engle (Saint Louis University)
- Manuscript Access in a Digital Age
William Noel (University of Pennsylvania)
The most useful digital data is stable, open data. An enormously diverse group of users need to be able to find it, access it in the form in which it was captured, ingest it easily, and use it as they want. What then, does open manuscript data actually look like? This paper discusses a model employed for the digital manuscripts of The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
- Digital Scriptorium Today and Tomorrow
Consuelo Dutschke (Columbia University)
Digital Scriptorium is already fifteen years old, and can speak to the value of its established standard, in the face of its many mutations, challenges, differing technologies and evolving politics. What began as a text-driven discovery tool very soon became much more: the codicological examples that Digital Scriptorium brings to an intellectual community now driven by interests in history of the book were not planned, but have become a major focus; statistics that weave patterns are an increasing area of use (at the simplest level they speak to the nature of American collections; in a more complex fashion they tie texts and physical structures together in meaningful ways). To the question posed repeatedly to digital projects: "Have you changed research?" Digital Scriptorium begins to offer answers.
Afternoon Break – 3:00pm
Session VII – 3:30pm
Fragments and the Fragmenting of Manuscripts
Organizer: Susan L’Engle (Saint Louis University)
- “Hacked all to Pieces”: The Mutilation of Venetian “Mariegole” in the Modern Era
Lyle Humphrey (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
The diary of art critic and collector John Ruskin (1819–1900) casually documents his practice of dismembering manuscripts, as in the famous entry of 1854, “Cut up Missal in evening—hard work.” Nevertheless, Ruskin left most of his own ninety some illuminated manuscripts intact, and demonstrated an appreciation for the whole codex. In 1877, while in Venice revising The Stones of Venice, he wrote letters lamenting the mutilation he had seen in a Venetian confraternity statute book (mariegola). Following a visit to the Archivio di Stato di Venezia to research the Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia o della Valverde, Ruskin described one copy of the confraternity’s mariegola as “hacked all to pieces.” He discovered two detached illuminations from the same manuscript in the Museo Correr, and characterized these as “lovely in ruin.” This paper will identify the two leaves recorded by Ruskin with a pair of miniatures attributed to Lorenzo Veneziano, now divided between The Cleveland Museum of Art and an Italian private collection. One half shows the Flagellation of Christ and the other the Virgin of Mercy as a Tree of Jesse. Filippo Todini discerned the patron of this bisected mariegola diptych, but no one has traced its manuscript of origin. I will argue that the miniatures were excised in the early nineteenth century from a codex that is still housed in the Venetian Archives. The path and transformation of the mariegola, from a prized bound volume of the Scuola della Valverde, to its current fragmentary state, is emblematic of the course of Venetian confraternity registers following Napoleon’s conquest of Venice in 1797.
- “Unica nel suo genere”: Abbé Celotti’s Cabinet of Sistine Chapel Miniatures
Anne-Marie Eze (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)
Abbé Luigi Celotti (1759–1843) is infamous for his sale at Christie’s in London in 1825, of “Illumined Miniature Paintings” cut from the service books of the Sistine Chapel, which had been stolen from the Vatican during the French occupation of Rome in 1798. The Christie’s auction has been defined as the first ever exclusive sale of initials and miniatures cut from Italian illuminated manuscripts, and credited with stimulating the taste in England for the study and appreciation of manuscript illumination. Celotti presented his illuminations as montages created from miniatures and border pieces cut, juxtaposed and pasted together to look like integral works, and mounted into glazed Renaissance-style frames. It has long been thought that the abbé excised the miniatures from the papal manuscripts prior to bringing them to London in 1825 to avoid British import tariffs on bound volumes. Consequently, Celotti’s montage-making has been attributed to a conjecture of “how best to make a market for the looted miniatures,” and he has been dismissed as “neither scholarly nor antiquarian, but mercenary.” This paper will reveal the hitherto unknown history of the formation, display and reception in Italy of Celotti’s cabinet of illuminated miniatures prior to its dispersal in England, and reassess his motives for mutilating the papal books.
- “Find Me a Book to Break into Pieces”: The Calculus of Greed, Manuscript Destruction, and the Reconstruction of the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (OSU MS Lat. 14)
Eric J. Johnson (The Ohio State University)
What is the value of a book? When it comes to medieval manuscripts, this question invites many answers. At the basest level, of course, we have its monetary value. But beyond pecuniary worth, manuscripts also embody intellectual, artifactual, cultural, social, and talismanic value. In this paper I plan to explore the competing and sometimes complementary notions of “value” or “worth” that underlie our modern understanding and appreciation of medieval manuscripts by examining the life of the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (OSU MS.Lat.14). An example of a rare “proto-Paris” Bible produced in a Parisian workshop sometime in the early 1220s, this Bible survived intact until 1981 when it was sold at auction and promptly broken by its purchasers to be sold off leaf-by-leaf. I will discuss the manuscript’s original value as a witness to the dynamic transitional period of early-thirteenth century biblical packaging and production, its subsequent revaluation down the centuries as an objet d’art (as opposed to a utilitarian—if deluxe—text), its destruction and “re-packaging” into 440 constituent units of sale, and the slow, methodical process of reconstructing both the manuscript itself (physically and digitally) and its original textual, artifactual, and intellectual significance at The Ohio State University.
- Crowdsourcing the Medieval Text: New Avenues for Examining Leaves and Fragments
Micah Erwin (University of Texas, Austin)
Historically, medieval manuscript leaves and fragments have received considerably less attention from academics and librarians than bound codices. Here in the United States institutions that hold rare materials are more likely to have medieval fragments or leaves in their collections than whole volumes. Despite this, little research has been carried out on such objects and even less has been done to survey, arrange, and describe them. Dramatic growth in the use of online social media, image hosting sites, and blogs has opened up a new and potentially fruitful avenue for extracting and sharing information about leaves and fragments. These websites have the capacity to bring together communities of researchers and to enable those communities to study and share images. This paper will argue that while formal institutional websites are useful for highly professional and specialized projects, broader and more popular social media and photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Facebook offer the potential to provide an easier and more widely accessible platform for exploring (i.e. crowdsourcing) medieval manuscript fragments. Drawing from personal experience and research, I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing image hosting websites andonline social media to interpret, share, and add value to such objects.
Closing Remarks – 5:30pm