Announcements

Call for Papers: EBS at Kalamazoo 2016
Four proposed Early Book Society sessions have been approved for the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 12-15, 2016) to be held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. The themes for Kalamazoo 2016 are open to interpretation though some suggestions are given below. They are:

Making Sense of the Material

Crossing Boundaries: the Movement of MSS and Printed Books

Networks of Reading in the Later Middle Ages

Reconstructing Medieval Libraries

Talks in the first session might address the ways in which the makers of books make sense of their exemplars or several versions of a text or a partial or muddled text. Among subjects to be considered is the work of scribes in organizing texts or the use of manuscript exemplars by early printers. While illustration sometimes serves to clarify the theme or subject of a text, in other cases it may provide a parallel running commentary; these too might be topics for discussion. Or papers might consider the ways in which texts are edited, translated or emended, which in some cases completely corrupts the text, sometimes rewrites it, sometimes corrects and restores it, and occasionally, transforms it into another text entirely. Translation of texts and the activities of antiquaries in the recovery of medieval texts are other possible themes.

"Crossing Boundaries" invites lectures on the import and export of MSS and books (as occurred quite regularly) or on one book that has been made in several places (as is the case with Books of Hours that were copied in one country but decorated or illuminated in another) or on volumes copied in places like Calais which was held by the English during the Hundred Years War where French scribes and artists made books for English patrons, for French patrons and sometimes for both.

Talks in "Networks of Reading in the Later Middle Ages" might explore the cluster of readers around great patrons like Lady Margaret Beaufort, or books made especially for religious houses, or discuss readerly friendships like that of John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, or the circulation of MSS and books between those in the professional classes in order to discern contemporary tastes, literary influences, and intellectual and/or religious associations.

"Reconstructing Medieval Libraries" examines what a library meant to medieval readers. A library might be as small as a personal collection of MSS, or perhaps several MSS bound in one volume, or as large as a royal collection. While papers here might literally describe the building and grounds of now vanished libraries, they could also consider questions of ownership, provenance, and the ways medieval people thought about their books (or about collecting), and in some cases, trace the survival of medieval books in modern libraries.

Please send abstracts (1-2 pp), letters of commitment, and the Participant Information Form (access through www.wmich.edu/medieval) to Martha Driver not later (preferably earlier) than September 15, 2015. EBS members wishing to serve as session chairs or respondents should send a note by the September date to the university or email address. Please send your proposals to mdriver@pace.edu OR to marthadriver@hotmail.com and include 'Proposal for Kalamazoo 2016' in the subject line. Abstracts may also be sent by mail to English/WGS, Pace University, 41 Park Row, New York, NY 10038 or FAXed to 212-346-1754 (attn: Martha Driver, English Department). If responding by email, please put 'Kalamazoo 2016' and the session of interest into the subject line.

 

Scots scriever sought
A scriever is being sought, in what is a first for Scotland, to support the use of the Scots language across the country.

It is the result of a joint initiative between the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland. Applications open today for the role which is designed to produce original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.

The successful candidate will be awarded a two-year residency, based at the National Library with funding from Creative Scotland.

This was announced today at the National Library by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs. She said: “The Scottish Government’s ambition is for the Scots language to be recognised, valued and used in Scottish public and community life. The Scots language is an essential part of Scotland’s distinctive culture and heritage, and the Scottish Government takes seriously the promotion of the Scots language throughout Scotland in all its regional and local variants.”

Creative Scotland also published its first Scots language policy at the event which underlines the organisation’s commitment to supporting the language through its own work and the work it funds across the arts, screen and creative industries.

The Scots scriever role will involve a high level of public engagement and the chosen applicant will work closely with the Scots collections at the Library.

National Librarian, Dr John Scally said: “We are delighted to be working with Creative Scotland in offering this exciting new writing role, as part of our continuing commitment to the Scots language. Our collections are rich in Scots and include some of the earliest examples of written Scots through to writers such as Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid and, in more recent times, Irvine Welsh.”

The author James Robertson whose novels contain prominent use of Scots and who has also translated a number of books for children and young people into Scots welcomed both the scriever role and Creative Scotland’s new policy.

He said the initiative recognises “Scots both as a part of the identity and daily life of hundreds of thousands of people, and as a special national cultural asset. I hope this policy encourages creative individuals and organisations throughout the land to engage with Scots in all kinds of ways. This is not about looking back, whatever the language’s past achievements: it is about ensuring that Scots goes forward to be seen and heard in the future.”

 

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.

 

New Exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum:
William Caxton and the Birth of English Printing

May 29 through September 20, 2015
Around 1474 in Belgium something never seen in print before rolled off the press--the English language. William Caxton (ca. 1422-1491/1492), an English merchant and diplomat, had recently learned of the new technology of print invented by Johannes Gutenberg twenty years before, and he capitalized on the commercial opportunity offered by this revolutionary invention. William Caxton and the Birth of English Printing, on view at the Morgan Library & Museum from May 29 through September 20, celebrates this foundational moment in the history of the English language and literature. Caxton would go on to publish such notable early works as Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, thereby stabilizing the English language for future generations.

"Johannes Gutenberg is the name most associated with the advent of the printed book, but William Caxton's contributions are essential as well," said Peggy Fogelman, acting director of the Morgan Library & Museum. "Prior to Caxton, English was a bewildering mix of dialects and styles. By making the key decision to print in a single dialect he helped regularize the language and began the process of standardization. The Morgan is fortunate to have a premier collection of Caxton material that brings to life his important story."

William Caxton spent more than thirty years in northern Europe representing English mercantile interests in the Burgundian Netherlands. He also served as a diplomat and translator and was an active author as well. In his role as publisher, he oversaw the production of more than 100 titles. These included short religious and reference books as well as major works of English literature.

At the time of his death, Caxton was one of only two printers active in England, but printing spread rapidly thereafter. His successor, Wynkyn de Worde, published approximately 750 works over the course of his career and by the 1550s, nearly 100 printers were working in London alone. As early as the mid-1700s, interest in England's literary past developed. Scholars worked to reconstruct the history of English printing, especially Caxton's role as its founder. His books became monuments to English literature and national pride, and book collectors began counting Caxtons in their collections as a mark of prowess and prestige. Through an entrepreneurial venture to introduce the new technology of printing to Britain, Caxton helped set English literature on the trajectory of increasing consumption, circulation, and influence that has continued to develop over the last five centuries. Pierpont Morgan, the Morgan's founder, saw Caxton and Gutenberg in the same light as he built his collection of the earliest printed books. Indeed, Morgan memorialized Caxton--not Gutenberg--in the celebrated ceiling mural adorning his landmark 1906 library. Today, the Morgan's Caxton collection is considered among the top three in the world...and the museum is the only institution to hold three Gutenberg Bibles.

Public Programs
GALLERY TALK: Friday, June 5, 6:30 pm
"William Caxton and the Birth of English Printing"
John McQuillen, Assistant Curator, Printed Books and Bindings

All gallery talks and tours are free with museum admission; no tickets or reservations necessary. They are one hour in length and meet at the Benefactors Wall across from the coat check area.

FILM: Friday, June 19, 7 pm
A Knight's Tale
Director: Brian Helgeland (2001, 132 minutes)

Inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the film follows a peasant squire who pretends to be a knight, along with his companions, in the world of medieval jousting. William competes in tournaments, winning accolades and acquiring friendships and romance along the way. Starring Heath Ledger (William Thatcher), Rufus Sewell (Count Adhemar), and Paul Bettany (Geoffrey Chaucer).

Exhibition-related films are free with museum admission. Advance reservations for Members only. Tickets are available at the Admission Desk on the day of the screening.

Organization and Sponsorship: This exhibition is generously made possible by the Acriel Foundation, the Sherman Fairchild Fund for Exhibitions, and the Zachs-Adam Family Fund.

 

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.

 

Editing and Interpretation: Literatures of Medieval England
8-10 September 2015
Derwent Building, The University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX

This three-day conference, held under the auspices of the Andrew Marvell Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, will focus on three overlapping areas central to all text-based work on medieval literatures: the identification, editing, and interpretation of texts. Major attention will be given to Medieval English, especially Middle English prose, but Anglo-Norman and Latin materials will also be discussed, as will verse texts and book illustration.

Speakers include: Julia Boffey (Queen Mary, University of London); A. S. G. Edwards (University of Kent); Martha Driver (Pace University, New York); Erik Kooper (Universiteit Utrecht); William Marx (University of Wales; Trinity St David, Lampeter); Kari Anne Rand (Universitetet i Oslo); John Thompson (Queen's University, Belfast); and Ronald Waldron (Emeritus, King's College London).

Registration (including meals): £60 full fee; £40 for postgraduates

Booking: Please send the booking form (available at http://www2.hull.ac.uk/fass/english/news-and -events.aspx), with a cheque for the relevant amount made payable to 'The University of Hull', to Veronica O'Mara, Department of English, The University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX

Registration Deadline -- with conference-arranged accommodation: 30 April 2015; without conference-arranged accommodation: 30 July 2015

 

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.

 

Langland Study Day: Worcester Cathedral, 19 September 2015
The Worcestershire poet William Langland wrote his epic poem Piers Plowman 650 years ago. His quest for how to live a good moral life still moves us, disturbs us and makes us laugh.

Five distinguished speakers discuss Langland and medieval life. Sessions will be held in King's School Theatre. Attendees should use nearby car parks and enter the Cathedral precinct on foot via Edgar Tower, Edgar Street, WR1 2LR.

Tea/Coffee available

10.00 Session 1: Introducing Piers Plowman
Dr Carl Schmidt, Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, editor of the standard edition of the original Middle English text of the poem

11.00 Session 2: The Literary Context of the Poem
Dr Lawrence Warner, Senior Lecturer in Medieval English at King's College, London, and Director of the International Piers Plowman Society

12.00 Break

Session 3: Medieval Music & Minstrelsy (live music)
Frances Eustace, medieval music specialist and performer

Buffet lunch in the Cathedral Chapter House

Session 4: Medieval Monasticism
The Right Reverend Dom Aidan Bellenger, OSB, former parish priest of Saint Wulstan's, Malvern, and Abbot of Downside

Session 5: The Life of Langland
Peter Sutton, author of a new verse translation of the poem

Followed by discussion and questions to all speakers

16.45 Tea/Coffee available

Choral Evensong in the Cathedral (optional)

Tickets £30 to include tea/coffee and lunch are available from Worcester Live Box Office, tel. 01905 611427, Huntingdon Hall, Crowngate, Worcester WR1 3LD. Bookings are accepted until 12 September. For full details see the Cathedral website www.worcestercathedral.co.uk.

For disabled access contact the Cathedral, Tel. 01905 732900 - All profits after expenses go to Cathedral funds. A joint event of Worcester Cathedral - Autumn in Malvern Festival - International Piers Plowman Society.

 

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 6/19/2015