Announcements

Princeton University Library announces a new resource for research in book history: BOOKBINDINGS ON INCUNABLES, THE SCOTT HUSBY DATABASE
Bookbindings on Incunables, the Scott Husby Database (https://husby.princeton.edu/husby_about.php), hosted by Princeton University Library, provides the most comprehensive record of the bindings of 15th-century European printed books ever undertaken for North American collections. The culmination of a twenty-year project initiated in 1999 by Scott Husby, now-retired rare book conservator at Princeton University, this searchable database contains descriptive records for more than 27,000 bindings on incunables preserved at some 30 North American research libraries. For each library, every incunable binding—regardless of period—has been included in the census. Despite the fact that at least 80% of all incunables were later rebound, a remarkable number of “late Gothic” bindings from the later 15th or early 16th centuries survive. The Husby Database offers more than 4,000 photographic views and rubbings of these early specimens.

Given that incunables generally were bound in places other than where they were printed, users may consult this remarkable “researcher’s notebook” for their own investigations not only of the history of bookbinding, but also the original distribution of the early printed book market, as well as patterns of later incunable collecting, the varied fortunes of libraries, and the fates of editions or individual books over time.

Multiple methods of searching the Husby Database are provided, using terms distinctive to the database. By searching “Collection: PrinUL” and “Binding Era: Early”, for example, the user can survey descriptive data, photographs, and rubbings of more than 100 bindings at Princeton University (searching “Scheide” provides 46 more). Or, one might search “Printer: Koberger” and “Bindery Location: Nuremberg” and retrieve more than 70 results. This searchability should provide a powerful tool for research in 15th-century book history, or for simply learning more about historic bookbindings.

Naturally, the Husby Database does not focus exclusively on the external appearances of books: the compiler's experience as a bookbinder and conservator led him to record numerous features that inform the “archaeology” of the book, such as sewing structures, endbands, board treatment, binding waste, clasps, and other hardware. The photographic documentation also records hand-decoration and illumination of texts and other evidence of early provenance, mainly as invitations to further research.

As Husby remarked on the eve of the project’s completion, “It is always gratifying to find that years of work have not been an exercise in futility. My great appreciation goes to those at Princeton for helping turn this census of 15th-century bindings into what I hope is a useful contribution to the study of early printed books.” Indeed, Eric White, a collaborator in the development of Princeton’s online version, was able to make several valuable discoveries while reviewing the database. For example, thanks to Husby’s decision to photograph interior details of the books, such as binding waste and provenance inscriptions, White noticed traces of a 9th-century Carolingian Bible in a binding at Cornell University, and the signature of one of Johannes Gutenberg’s relatives within a book at the Huntington Library. Such is the nature of the Husby Database: it will allow each researcher to bring his or her own potential for discovery to this remarkably rich assemblage of contemporary physical evidence.

Contact:
Eric White, PhD
Curator of Rare Books
and Acting Head of Conservation
Princeton University Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544
Tel 609.258.9942
blogs.princeton.edu/notabilia

 

EBS Conference 2019 CALL FOR PAPERS
Social Media in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Production, Circulation, and Reception of MSS and Early Printed Books, 1350 to 1550
University College Dublin, July 7 to July 11

This conference theme may be as narrowly or broadly interpreted as necessary, though always with reference to the history of MSS and books from 1350 to 1550, and their material culture. The EBS conference organizers encourage proposals on MSS and books as an early form of social media that promote cultural, artistic or religious ideas; on the making, reading, and ownership of manuscripts and early printed books, especially when influences can be traced between books, owners, or readers; on texts that share content or respond to content in other texts; on the circulation of books or inheriting of books indicated by wills or by annotations in the books themselves; on the cachet of owning and lending books; on gossip, discussion, reputations of books or the libraries that house them; on marginal inscriptions or drawings that comment on the text or respond to those of earlier or other readers; on the social networks in which MSS and books travelled, or perhaps helped to create, among other related themes. Theoretical approaches that engage directly with MSS and books are welcome. Proposals for papers that describe MSS and books owned, made or read by women, along with abstracts that engage with MSS and books from outside Western Europe and/or which place Western European MSS and books in dialogue with those from other parts of the globe and other cultures are especially encouraged. Lectures or proposed full sessions, especially those that consider the transition from script to print, bibliographic issues, or the movement of books within or into Ireland, are also of particular interest.

Send your title and abstract (350 words) along with a-v requirements to the program committee by December 1. These are: Martha Driver at mdriver@pace.edu, Niamh Pattwell at niamh.pattwell@ucd.ie, and Margaret Connolly at mc29@st-andrews.ac.uk. (Please include EBS Conference Abstract DUBLIN 2019 in the subject line of your email.) Please also send a paper copy of your abstract to Martha Driver at Dept of English, Pace University, 41 Park Row, Rm 511F, New York, NY 10038 so as to insure that nothing is lost in transit. Scholars planning to combine the conference with a research trip might be reminded that the many library collections in Dublin tend to be busy with visitors in the summer months, so booking ahead is advised.

CFP: Early Book Society at Kalamazoo 2019
EBS is pleased to present six sessions at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies to be held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, from May 9—12, 2019. The session titles are:

- Middle English Texts and Manuscripts: In Memory of Ian Doyle

- Finishing Touches: Perfecting Manuscripts and Printed Books

- Utilitarian Texts: Authors, Makers, Users

- Archaeology of the Book

- Outside London and Paris: Regional Manuscript and Book Production

- Magic, Multilingual Papyri, Books within Books [cosponsored with Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT)]

Only the last of these sessions is pre-planned. The others are open for submissions. Please send abstracts (1-2 pp) and Participant Information Form (please access the form through www.wmich.edu/medieval now available on the website) to Martha Driver not later (preferably earlier) than September 15, 2018. EBS members wishing to serve as session chairs or respondents should send a note by the September date to the university or email address.

Send or email abstracts to Dept of English/WGS, Pace University, 41 Park Row, Rm 511F, New York, NY 10038 or FAX to 212-346-1754 (attn: Martha Driver, English Department), along with the PIF. Inquiries are welcome. If responding by email, please put Kalamazoo 2019 and the session of interest into the subject line. Email: mdriver@pace.edu

EBS has sponsored sessions at Kalamazoo since its founding as an independent entity in 1987 and is open to everyone engaged in the study of MSS and books made between 1350 and 1550. This year, for the first time in this millennium, EBS was given all six sessions that were proposed. Because EBS was given six sessions by the programming committee, EBS was recently cited, along with several other organizations, in a dispute over the assignment of sessions for 2019 by two groups.

These groups called for, among other things, more transparency in the session selection process, which we agree with. The ICMS response to their letter is posted at https://wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2018/medieval-to-the-steering-committee.pdf

We wish to encourage anyone who loves MSS, books and book history to participate in the EBS sessions in 2019 and are particularly interested in proposals for papers that describe MSS and books owned, made or read by women, along with abstracts that explicitly engage with MSS and books from outside Western Europe and/or which place Western European MSS and books in dialogue with those from other parts of the globe and other cultures. All proposals are welcome!

 

Exciting discovery at the University of Reading
"Incredibly rare" pages from a Caxton print of the Sarum Ordinal were discovered among loose pages needing to be catalogued at the University of Reading's special collection library. Read the BBC's report on the find here.

 

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexander
"Somewhere at Google there is a database of 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them."

Interesting and sometimes depressing history of Google Books in The Atlantic; read it here.

 

Exciting plans for Ushaw College Library, Durham
From The Northern Echo: "Plans have been unveiled for a new international residential research library at a historic former Catholic seminary. Read the full story here.

 

NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant to fund The Independent Works of William Tyndale
Preparation of five critical editions of the prose works of influential English Reformation thinker William Tyndale (c.1495-1536), to be disseminated in printed and online open access digital formats. (36 months). Dr. Mark Rankin of George Mason University will serve as Principal Investigator on the project.

William Tyndale is one of the most significant writers of the English Renaissance. He is best known for translating the first printed English New Testament (1526) and portions of the Old Testament. His other writings are valuable for our understanding of his Bible translations. They are also valuable because they shaped discussion, during the English Renaissance and Reformation, on topics as diverse as education and political obedience. However, because these books are not generally available, this project will increase knowledge of Tyndale's ideas.

The Independent Works of William Tyndale will produce reliable editions of these books for an audience of scholars, students, and general readers. Dr. Rankin will collaborate with professors and members of staff at seven colleges and universities in completing this work, as follows:

-- Dr. Tibor Fabiny (Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary)
-- Dr. Susan Felch (Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI)
-- Dr. Gergely Juhász (Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK)
-- Dr. Clare Costley King'oo (University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT)
-- Dr. Cathy Shrank (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
-- Dr. J. Christopher Warner (Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY)
-- Mr. Worthy Martin (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA)

Catholic University of America Press will publish these Tyndale editions as printed books, following the example set by the first completed volume in this series: William Tyndale, An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue, edited by Anne M. O'Donnell and Jared Wicks (Washington, DC, 2000; first printed 1531).

Free and open-access online versions of these Tyndale books will be developed and maintained by The Institute of Advanced Technology at the University of Virginia.

 

Rober Thornton Memorial Appeal Update, May 2016

In 2013 the Early Book Society collected signatures from members around the world in support of a memorial appeal to restore Robert Thornton to his place in local memory and the place of his burial, Stonegrave Minster. This has been welcomed by Stonegrave PCC and the Stonegrave Village Committee. It is hoped to collect funding for a memorial plaque honouring Robert Thornton and his contribution to literature in Stonegrave Minster.

A few more donations have been received in the course of the last year, bringing the total to some £1k. Thanks to all those who have contributed.

However, events in the parish have held back plans for pursuing the appeal locally. Last summer an appeal was launched to raise urgently needed funds for Stonegrave Minster roof and this absorbed local funds and attention. More seriously, the incumbent, Susan Bond, who has been very supportive, is taking early retirement this summer which will leave the parish in an 'inter-regnum' for at least six months, during which time all decisions are shelved.

In the meantime, I should welcome any ideas for taking the appeal further into Thornton-aware academic circles, any offers of contacts etc and of course the appeal remains open. (RTStonegrave@yahoo.com)

The funds collected so far are in a separate and secure bank account. If any donors feel that in the circumstances they would like their money back, just ask Rosalind Field (rosfield98@gmail.com)

 

Beinecke acquires Egge's collection
Otto F. Ege, an Ohio-based scholar and book dealer, made a controversial practice of dismantling medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and selling the individual leaves for profit during the first half of the last century.

Ege (pronounced EGG-ee) argued that his book-breaking served a noble purpose by providing people access to medieval relics that they otherwise would never be able to afford. Scholars lament the damage he did to numerous significant manuscripts.

When he died in 1951, Ege left to his family a collection of full manuscripts and manuscript fragments. Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library recently acquired Ege's collection, adding dozens of manuscript fragments and more than 50 complete manuscripts to the library's rich collection of medieval material.

"This remarkable collection will provide students and scholars with an unprecedented opportunity to study both a wide variety of hundreds of previously unknown manuscripts and fragments, as well as the complex man who collected them," says Raymond Clemens, curator of the library's Collection of Early Books and Manuscripts.

Find full story and manuscript images here.

 

The Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies
The Hagiography Society is pleased to invite applications for the Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies. Named in honor of the beloved founder and long-time leader of the Society, the award provides $300 to be used toward travel to present at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, held annually at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.

Eligibility: Students enrolled in a graduate program (anywhere in the world) are eligible to apply if their paper, on a topic involving hagiography, has been accepted for inclusion in the program of the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI, at the time of application. Preference may be given to Hagiography Society members. For complete information on how to apply, please visit http://www.hagiographysociety.org/ and click on "Awards."

 

Story in the New York Times:
"Medicine's Hidden Roots in an Ancient Manuscript"

A story of palimpsests, and scattered leaves, and the recovery and digitization of the oldest known copy of Galen's "On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs": read it here.

 

EBS member James Carley discovers key book in Henry VIII's break with Rome
James Carley, EBS member and author of an article in the current issue of JEBS, has identified a book in the library at Lanhydrock as book number 282 in the inventory of Henry VIII's library. The book contains a summary of the theories of William of Ockham, which were central to the king's arguing for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which led, ultimately, to his breaking with Rome. Read the whole story in the Guardian here.

 

Recataloguing of all Caxton imprints at the Morgan Library & Museum
All Caxton imprints at the Morgan Library & Museum are now fully recatalogued with full copy-specific descriptions, including physical descriptions, provenance, and binding. Search CORSAIR by the keywords PMLinc Caxton to retrieve the new descriptions.

 

Private Lives of Print: The use and abuse of books 1450-1500 Online exhibition: https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/incunabula/
The development of the printing press in Mainz in the 1450s was immediately recognized as a pivotal moment by contemporaries. Its impact was monumental, heralding a communication revolution akin to the birth of the internet and leading to the slow but inevitable decline of the manuscript as the dominant means of transmission. Fundamental to our understanding of the reception of this seismic event is the evidence left within books themselves. Over the past twenty-five years researchers have focussed increasingly on the marks left by early readers, as a means of assessing how books were used, how and where they moved, their trade, impact and audience.

This exhibition celebrates the conclusion of a five-year project, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to catalogue Cambridge University Library's world-class collection of incunabula, books printed before 1501. It draws on the remarkable body of information amassed during the project about how the earliest printed books were received during the first hundred years of the press. Annotations, provenance, bindings and decoration provide rare and unexpected insights into the use and abuse of incunabula, and into the private lives of both printed books and their owners.

 

John Lydgate linked to Suffolk church graffiti
From The Guardian: The discovery of a signature has linked graffiti on the walls of a Suffolk church to a 15th Century poet.

The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey has been studying inscriptions at St Mary's Church, Lidgate, near Haverhill.

They are "90%" sure a newly-discovered graffito was made by poet John Lydgate (c 1370-1451), who had been vicar there.

Matthew Champion, from the project, said: "He was known for his witty puns and many of these are of that kind."

Lydgate, who became a monk in Bury St Edmunds and wrote The Lives of St Edmund and Fremund, is regarded as one of the most important and prolific medieval English writers with over 150,000 lines of verse attributed to him. Read the rest of the Guardian article ...

 

Shakespeare Folio Discovered in France
First folios of Shakespeare's plays are among the world's rarest books, intensely scrutinized by scholars for what their sometimes-minute variations -- each copy is different--reveal about the playwright's intentions. Now a previously unknown folio has surfaced at a small library in northern France, bringing the world's known total of surviving first folios to 233. Read the rest of the New York Times article ...

 

Dan Mosser's updated catalogue of pre-1500 Chaucer MSS and incunables now online
This revised, updated, and corrected edition of Daniel W. Mosser's A Digital Catalogue of the pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the Canterbury Tales contains descriptions of the eighty-four fifteenth-century manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales and of the individual copies of the four incunable editions. Accompanying articles discuss lost manuscripts and individual scribes. Find the catalogue here: http://www.mossercatalogue.net/

This edition omits the hundreds of images published on the Scholarly Digital Editions' 2010 publication on CD-ROM, making it possible to provide the Catalogue free of charge on the Web. Verse items are hyperlinked to records in the Digital Index of Middle English Verse and, where images are available for watermarks to the Thomas L. Gravell Watermark Archive.

 

Vernon and Simeon Manuscripts now both fully Digitised
Often cited by medieval English manuscripts scholars, but rarely reproduced, now the Simeon manuscript (British Library, Addit. MS 22283) is available in full on the British Library Digitised Manuscripts site. On the manuscript and research in progress on it see Wendy Scase's guest blog entry, 'Beyond the Bling', 10 June 2014, on the British Library Medieval Manuscripts blog and the Simeon Manuscript Project website at the University of Birmingham. Digitisation of Simeon follows the recent publication on DVD of The Vernon Manuscript: A Facsimile Edition of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. poet.a.1, ed. by Wendy Scase (Oxford: Bodleian Digital Texts, 2012), meaning that the extraordinary Vernon-Simeon pair are now fully available for the first time.

 

New resource: Penn in Hand: Selected Manuscripts
From the site (here): The site offers bibliographic information and digital facsimiles for selected collections of manuscript codices, texts, documents, papers, and leaves held by Penn's Rare Book & Manuscript Library as well as those privately owned by Lawrence J. Schoenberg (C'53, WG'56). Penn holds over 2,000 Western manuscripts produced before the 19th century; medieval and Renaissance manuscripts comprise approximately 900 items, the earliest dating from 1000 A.D. Its holdings of Indic manuscripts is the largest in the Western hemisphere with more than 3,000 items. The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection emphasizes secular topics, especially science and mathematics, and includes tablets from the 21st to 18th centuries B.C.

 

Now Available: Blackburn's 'Worthy Citizen': The Philanthropic Legacy of R.E. Hart
by Cynthia Johnston, Sarah J. Biggs

From the publisher's website (here): The exceptionally fine colour images in this catalogue are selections from the R.E. Hart Collection held by the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery. Seven medieval manuscripts and three incunables from the Collection were exhibited at Senate House Library in November of 2013.

This project, Blackburn's 'Worthy Citizen': The Philanthropic Legacy of R.E. Hart, was made possible by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and was generously supported by the Institute of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London; Winchester University; the Bibliographical Society; the Economic History Society; and the Blackburn Museum itself. Graduate students from the Institute of English Studies, The Courtauld Institute of Art, and Cambridge and Winchester Universities have worked with curators and experts from a wide range of academic disciplines to produce the exhibition and accompanying catalogue.

See the blog about the Hart collection here: http://blackhartbooks.wordpress.com/about/

 

Late Medieval English Scribes website launched
Linne Mooney, Estelle Stubbs, and Simon Horobin have now launched the Late Medieval English Scribes website at http://www.medievalscribes.com/.

Late Medieval English Scribes is an online catalogue of all scribal hands (identified or unidentified) which appear in the manuscripts of the English writings of five major Middle English authors: Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Trevisa, William Langland and Thomas Hoccleve.

 

Harlaxton Medieval Studies Index now available
Over the course of the twenty-five years of its existence, the Harlaxton Medieval Symposium has published proceedings of its annual gatherings containing some 462 articles by 293 authors extending over 7682 pages. To mark the symposium’s quarter-century, the steering committee has now commissioned a cumulative index covering the first twenty-five volumes of the Harlaxton Medieval Studies, most of which were originally published without an index.

The newly-published index volume which runs to an impressive 841 pages

  • is comprehensive for names of places and individuals
  • provides references to a wide range of subjects
  • includes a full index of the manuscripts and documentary sources cited
  • includes a full alphabetical list of authors and essays.

Now available from:

Shaun Tyas Publishing
1 High Street
Donington
Lincolnshire
PE11 4TA
United Kingdom

T: + 44 (0)1775 821 542
E: pwatkins@pwatkinspublishing.fsnet.co.uk

The cost is £35.00 (post free for UK orders)

 

New Blog from St Andrews: Echoes from the Vault
In an age where books have become an increasingly rare item to find in libraries, and as libraries themselves are experiencing their largest sea-change since electronic cataloguing was introduced, special collection departments are slowly becoming what defines one library from another.

Echoes from the Vault is the official blog of the Rare Books Collection of the University of St Andrews. Here you can find posts about unique or exciting finds amongst the vaults in our day-to-day work, bringing to light voices that have remained quiet for many years. This blog will also feature news and events happening within the Special Collections Department and the University Library.

The Rare Books Collection of the University of St Andrews is estimated at over 200,000 volumes, and almost half of these have not been catalogued online, with only a portion of it having been recorded in the old Page Catalogue and reported to the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) and other bibliographies. Most of the unique items are not completely unknown to previous and existing Special Collections staff, they have just lain dormant for centuries. It is our hope that we can reawaken the potential of these books as research and educational resources by getting them in the hands of students, staff and researchers.

As part of its launch, Echoes from the Vault is showcasing bookbindings in St Andrews' collection with a special feature "52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings," adding photos and discussion of one new fantastic binding each week. Follow the blog here: http://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/.

 

Opuscula: Short Texts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (OSTMAR)
The Editorial Board of Opuscula: Short Texts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (OSTMAR) is pleased to announce the official launch of its website: http://opuscula.usask.ca. We seek single-witness editions of Medieval and Renaissance texts under 6,000 words accompanied by a brief introduction (1000-1500 words) and translation. We invite submission of a broad range of pre-modern texts including but not limited to literary and philosophical works, letters, charters, court documents, and notebooks. Texts should be previously unedited and the edition must represent a discrete text in its entirety.

For more information or to view a sample edition, go to opuscula.usask.ca or write Frank Klaassen, General Editor at editor@opuscula.usask.ca.

OSTMAR is an on-line and open-access journal published by Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies at the University of Saskatchewan under a creative commons license. All submissions are subject to a double-blind peer review and must be accompanied by readable digital facsimiles of the original documents.

 

Announcing a new series from Ashgate Publishing Company:
Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

Series Editors:
James Daybell, University of Plymouth; and Adam Smyth, Birkbeck College, University of London
This series provides a forum for studies that consider the material forms of texts as part of an investigation into early modern culture. The editors invite proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature, and particularly welcome proposals that combine archival research with an attention to the theoretical models that might illuminate the reading, writing, and making of texts, as well as projects that take innovative approaches to the study of material texts, both in terms the kinds of primary materials under investigation, and in terms of methodologies. What are the questions that have yet be to asked about writing in its various possible embodied forms? Are there varieties of materiality that are critically neglected? How does form mediate and negotiate content? In what ways do the physical features of texts inform how they are read, interpreted and situated? Consideration will be given to both monographs and collections of essays.

    The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to:
  • History of the book, publishing, the book trade, printing, typography (layout, type, typeface, blank/white space, paratextual apparatus)
  • Technologies of the written word: ink, paper, watermarks, pens, presses
  • Surprising or neglected material forms of writing
  • Print culture
  • Manuscript studies
  • Social space, context, location of writing
  • Social signs, cues, codes imbued within the material forms of texts
  • Ownership and the social practices of reading: marginalia, libraries, environments of reading and reception
  • Codicology, palaeography and critical bibliography
  • Production, transmission, distribution and circulation
  • Archiving and the archaeology of knowledge
  • Orality and oral culture
  • The material text as object or thing

Proposals should take the form of either 1) a preliminary letter of inquiry, briefly describing the project; or 2) a formal prospectus including: abstract, brief statement of your critical methodology, table of contents, sample chapter, estimate of length, estimate of the number and type of illustrations to be included, and a c.v. Please send a copy of either type of proposal to each of the two series editors and to the publisher: Dr James Daybell, james.daybell@plymouth.ac.uk; Dr Adam Smyth, adam.smyth@bbk.ac.uk; Erika Gaffney, Publisher, egaffney@ashgate.com.

 

Harry Ransom Center's Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Collection Now Accessible Online

AUSTIN, Texas --The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has introduced an online database for its medieval and early modern manuscripts collection. The database includes more than 7,000 digital images and can be accessed here

http://research.hrc.utexas.edu/pubmnem/

The medieval and early modern manuscripts collection contains 215 items dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. It comprises items from various collections, including those of George Atherton Aitken, W. H. Crain, Carlton Lake, Edward A. Parsons, Sir Thomas Phillipps, Walter Emile Van Wijk, Evelyn Waugh, John Henry Wrenn and others.

The Ransom Center is digitizing all of the collection items, which will be added to the database as they are completed. At present, digital images are available for 27 of the items for a total of 7,288 pages.

The database contains item-level descriptions for all 215 items, and the collection is searchable by keyword and any combination of the following categories: name, country of origin, century, language, format (such as charters or diaries), subject and physical features (such as musical notation or wax seals).

The medieval and early modern manuscripts collection is a rich resource for many areas of research. Scholars may use the collection to trace typographical developments in printing, compare different versions of the same text or examine a manuscript's composition, decoration and binding to study the history of the book. The collection may also be valuable for those studying the history of liturgy and music.

"The new database for the Ransom Center's medieval and early modern manuscripts collection is a wonderful resource for students and teachers here at the university and for scholars everywhere," said Marjorie Curry Woods, professor of English and comparative literature at The University of Texas at Austin. "The detailed descriptions will help researchers working on individual manuscripts, provide a model for students learning palaeography and codicology, and allow scholars elsewhere to explore possible connections between the Ransom Center's manuscripts and those in other collections.

"The complete digitized versions of manuscripts are invaluable. Manuscripts that are now too fragile to be handled are still available for research and teaching, and those that have small, difficult-to-read glosses and marginalia now can be deciphered with relative ease. In addition, digitized manuscripts can be projected for class presentations and can be consulted by scholars working collaboratively but in different locations. Access to the Ransom Center's valuable early holdings is increased exponentially while at the same time reducing wear and tear on the manuscripts themselves."

The collection is particularly strong in humanistic manuscripts, vernacular literature and religious documents. Other represented subjects include alchemy, architecture, astronomy, botany, cartography, classical literature, diplomacy, drama, genealogy, government, heraldry, history, kings and rulers, law, mathematics, medicine, monasticism and religious orders, music, philosophy, poetry, science and war.

The earliest item in the collection is the Tegernsee Miscellany manuscript, an 11th-century Austrian codex of various texts compiled by Abbot Ellinger of Tegernsee. Other highlights include 11 Books of Hours, most notably the "Belleville Hours," and a 15th-century German ferial psalter and hymnal, significant because of its possible stylistic relationship to the Gutenberg Bible and early printed psalters.

The collection contains classical texts, including copies of works by Cicero, Horace, Ovid and Plato, and medieval literary works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante and Petrarch.

The historical documents in the collection represent numerous European monarchs, such as Henry VIII of England, Louis XIII of France and Philip III of Spain. Notable historical figures represented in the collection include Oliver Cromwell, Martin Luther, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Abraham Ortelius and Sir Walter Raleigh. Document types include charters, commonplace books, contracts, correspondence, decrees, deeds, diaries, government records, indentures, letters patent, minutes, notarial documents, notes, papal bulls, petitions, pontificals, receipts, reports, speeches and writs.

The manuscripts represent numerous countries and historical regions, including Austria, Bohemia, Bolivia, Byzantium, England, Flanders, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and the United States. The represented languages include Dutch, English, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Middle English, Old English and Spanish.

Other holdings at the Ransom Center that contain early manuscripts include the George Atherton Aitken, Eastern manuscripts, clay tablets and cones, Kraus maps, Lanza-Acosta Bolivian, Arthur Livingston, papyri, Pforzheimer, Ranuzzi, Shelley family and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary collections.

High-resolution press images from the collection are available.

 

"Performing Medieval Narrative Today: A Video Showcase"
This website (http://euterpe.bobst.nyu.edu /mednar/), produced through the Studio for Digital Projects and Research at New York University, offers resources for scholars, teachers, students, and performers to explore the performance of medieval narrative. Our purpose is to see how medieval stories can be brought to life in performance for modern audiences, and how performance can be used to teach medieval literature in the classroom. We hope as well to promote a better understanding of ways in which medieval narratives may have been performed for their original audiences.


Video clips constitute the primary resource on the website. The clips feature a variety of actors, storytellers, singers, musicians, mimes, puppeteers, and dancers, among them professionals, teachers, and students. They perform scenes drawn from a range of medieval narrative genres, including epics, romances, lais, tales, fabliaux, and others. Some performances of narratives from analogous traditions (such as the Egyptian Hilali epic) are also represented.


In the future, we plan to expand the site's holdings and add other resources to the site, including further information bearing on pedagogical uses of performance, and videoed interviews with performers and with faculty and students who work with performance.


We hope you will visit, and use, the website. We welcome your feedback, which may be sent to perf-med-narr@forums.nyu.edu

Timmie (E.B.) Vitz, New York University ­ ebv1@nyu.edu
Marilyn Lawrence, New York University ­ lawrence@alumni.princeton. edu
Project Directors

 

Send announcements to Martha Rust at martha.rust@nyu.edu
Last updated 9/8/2018