Thursday, April 26, 2012

April updates and medieval items in the news

From a 1514 edition of the Plenarium or vernacular lectionary, printed in Basel.

  • Selections from other blogs and the news
  • Medieval Academy: Annual Meeting, Knoxville, 2013: Call for Papers 
  • Thirty-Ninth Annual Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies (note from the Vatican Film Library)
  • CfP: PhD student Essay Prize 2012: To what extent do medieval phenomena still exist in our present without being perceived as historical?


Selections from other blogs and the news (selected from American Libraries Direct):
British Library purchases St. Cuthbert Gospel
A 7th-century gospel discovered in a saint’s coffin more than 900 years ago, the oldest European book to survive fully intact, has been acquired by the British Library for £9 million ($14.4 million US). The manuscript copy of the Gospel of St John, called the St. Cuthbert Gospel, was produced in northeast England and placed in the saint’s coffin on the island of Lindisfarne, probably in 698. The manuscript features an original red leather binding in excellent condition. It was purchased at auction from the Society of Jesus (British Province)....
The Guardian (UK), Apr. 17

Bodleian and Vatican libraries to digitize ancient texts
The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome have announced a new collaborative digitization project. The objective is to make 1.5 million pages from their remarkable collections freely available online to researchers and the general public. The initiative was made possible by a £2 million grant ($3.2 million US) from the Polonsky Foundation. The digitized collections will be in three subject areas: Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books (incunabula), and Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books....
Bodleian Libraries, Apr. 12

Reports of manuscript looting in Mali
The head of UNESCO has appealed to countries in North Africa to be on the alert for anyone attempting to sell ancient manuscripts. Director-General Irina Bokova said there were reports that rebels have overrun and looted depositories containing thousands of ancient books and documents in Mali’s historic city of Timbuktu. A World Heritage site since 1988, Timbuktu was taken over by rebels April 1 following their swift progress in the north....
UN News Service, Apr. 16

Spectral imaging of Shakespeare’s signature
Roger L. Easton Jr. writes: “One of the many treasures at the Folger Shakespeare Library is a copy of William Lambarde’s Archaionomia, a book on Anglo-Saxon law published in 1568 and acquired by the Library in 1938. Buried amidst the decorative border of the title page is a faded signature that has been judged by several authorities to be from the Bard himself. The value of clarifying the signature on both sides of the page was self-evident. Our team brought a scientific digital camera, spectral illumination panels, and processing computers to the library on March 12–13 to collect and process images of the front and back of this page.”...
The Collation, Mar. 19

The dirt on medieval manuscripts: What it tells us
Early users of medieval books of hours and prayer books left signs of their reading in the form of fingerprints in the margins. The darkness of their fingerprints correlates to the intensity of their use and handling. A densitometer—a machine that measures the darkness of a reflecting surface—can reveal which texts a reader favored. This article by Kathryn M. Rudy introduces a new technique, densitometry, to measure a reader’s response to various texts in a prayer book....
Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 2, no. 1–2 (2010)


 Medieval Academy
Annual Meeting, Knoxville, 2013: Call for Papers 
Deadline for submission is extended to 1 June 2012

The annual meeting of the Medieval Academy will be held from 4-6 April 2013, in downtown Knoxville, hosted by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium.

The Program Committee invites proposals for papers on all topics and in all disciplines and periods of medieval studies. Any member of the Medieval Academy may submit a paper proposal, excepting those who presented papers at the annual meetings of the Medieval Academy in 2011 and 2012. Others may submit proposals as well but must become members in order to present papers at the meeting. Special consideration can be given to individuals whose specialty would not normally involve membership in the Academy.

The complete Call for Papers with additional information, submission procedures, selections guidelines, and organizers is available here

Please contact Prof. Jay Rubenstein at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville if you have any questions.  

1.  Militant Piety in Late Antiquity: Papers in Honor of the Memory of Thomas Sizgorich
2.  Militant Piety in Medieval History: Papers in Honor of the Memory of Thomas Sizgorich
3.  Sainthood and Regional Identity
4.  Maps and Mapping: Cities and Regions
5.  Unity and Regionalism in the Medieval Mediterranean
6.  Italy and the Mediterranean
7.  Trade between Region and Hinterland
8.  Regional and Vernacular Literature and Translations: Local Voices, (Trans)National Issues
9.  Family and the Land
10.  Erogenous Zones
11.  Beyond Borders: Kingdoms and Communities off the Map
12.  Resounding Spaces: Defining Communities and Geographies through Song
13.  North vs. South in Old and Middle English Literature
14. Milestones and Millstones in the Study of Old English Literature: The Most Significant - or Misguided - Works of Criticism
15. Drama in Medieval England
16. Greek East and Latin West
17.  Medieval Marketplace: Theory and Practice
18.  Economic Interaction in the Low Countries
19.  Social and Political Interaction in the Low Countries
20.  Science and Religion in Conflict
21.  Latin Translations of Vernacular Literature
22.  Medicine and Spirituality
23.  Latin Devotional Literatures
24.  The Reception of the Apocrypha
25.  Rumor and Infamy in Political Culture
26.  Archaeology and Region
27.  Depictions of the Liberal Arts
28.  Carolingian Manuscript Culture
29.  The New Constitutionalism Revisited: Documents, Texts, Cultures
30.  Saints, Sinners, and Inquisition
31.  Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World: Pearsall and Salter at 40
32.  Ecocriticism and Its Discontents
33.  Peasants and the Natural World
34.  Networks of Monasteries and Religious Orders
35.  The Millennium: Fresh Views of the End of Time
36.  Preaching and Public Religious Practice
37.  Bodies and Borders
38.  Women before the Inquisition: A Persecuted Sex?
39.  Gender, Family, and Place: Romancing the Home
40. Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew: Cosmopolitan Language and Regionalism in the Middle Ages
41. Holy Land(s) and Medieval Jews
42. Regional Traits in Illuminated Manuscripts: Style and Iconography

From Susan L’Engle at the Vatican Film Library:
With regard to our Thirty-Ninth Annual Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, coming up on October 12-13, 2012, there are three sessions that each lack a third presenter; please submit a proposal or write me with any questions if you would like to complete one of them:

Writing the Scribe:
The scribe has been variously assessed as a stenographer, historian, copier, visual programmer, and creative compiler of new texts. Papers will examine scribes as they pursue their trade within regions, scriptoria,or courts, or in facing unique problems of format or organization. Particularly welcome will be investigations of scribal challenges and solutions within specific time periods, geographical locations, or in response to the demands of patrons.

Theophilus Revisited:
Theophilus addressed the science of book production in the well-known On Divers Arts. Adding to the CFP in issue 4 of the Newsletter, this session welcomes papers that discuss the physical elements that enter into the process of making a manuscript: parchment, inks, paints, writing and drawing tools, chemical processes. What can we add to Theophilus’s rules for the preparation of materials; what have we learned about their durability or deterioration over time?

Fragments and the Fragmenting of Manuscripts:
Along the history of manuscript production there is a parallel history of manuscript plunder: the excision of initials, miniatures, bas-de-page decorations—or entire leaves—by individuals bent on profit or the creative re-use of these elements. Additionally, scraps of discarded manuscripts are used to reinforce bindings, serve as shopping lists, or to mend torn or missing sections of a variety of objects. Papers will discuss examples of fragmentation, and/or their perpetrators, and what we can learn from the surviving fragments.

Susan L’Engle
Assistant Director, Vatican Film Library Editor, Book Review Editor, Manuscripta Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63108
Tel. (314) 977-3084 / Fax (314) 977-3108

Received through the YMAGINA listserv:
CfP: PhD student Essay Price 2012: To what extent do medieval phenomena still exist in our present without being perceived as historical?
Is history shrinking? Researchers in the fields of social sciences and cultural studies have recently come to observe a global tendency: with the end of the 20th century, our relationship with the past has begun to change fundamentally. Sociologists, for instance, have detected a "de-temporalization of history" (Hartmut Rosa), tracing this development to the dynamics of acceleration and the multiplication of social change in modern life. With the "chronotope of historicism" on the wane, the border between present and past is becoming increasingly permeable: historical distance, it seems, is dissolving into an increasingly "broad present" (Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht). This change of perception affects our relationship with the Middle Ages in particular; after all, their baffling mixture of overtly marked historicity and oblique omnipresence permeates our present like few other periods. Today, medieval architecture can just as readily be found in historical city centres as it can be on the ahistorical sets of Harry Potter; modern life-style and wellness guides draw their inspiration from religious and medical texts of medieval monastic life; knights with swords and armour take their place on the battlefields of online role-playing games among a host of other fantasy characters as a matter of course. In more than 30 German cities, women now live together in communities modelled after those of the medieval Beguines; the 13th century roots as dwelling for a Christian sisterhood are by no means detrimental to their attractiveness as contemporary, emancipated forms of living. With the rapid spread of audiobooks we suddenly find ourselves experiencing literature in a manner surprisingly similar to that of the medieval semioral tradition; we do not, however, consider this development a "return to the Middle Ages." Apocalyptic scenarios re-emerge in literature and film as well as in scientific prognoses of today, displacing expectations of open future and progress and thereby re-introducing structural aspects of the medieval world view - though ecological and demographic catastrophes have long since taken the place of a Final Judgement in our imagining. Such phenomena seem to undermine the marked historicity of the Middle Ages. If the "simultaneity of the sequential" can be regarded as a key feature of how modern history has been experienced (Reinhart Koselleck), the combination of marked historicity and unmarked presence puts the Middle Ages beyond the reach of attempts at ordering even more fundamentally. It is the aim of this essay prize to support students' research into medieval culture and to honour particularly original ideas. The entry is open to every student (including PhD-students) who may apply with a previously unpublished essay answering the following question: To what extent do medieval phenomena still exist in our present without being perceived as historical?
All essays, written in German or English, must not exceed 55,000 characters (including spaces) and must be submitted to Bent Gebert (bent.gebert@ germanistik.unifreiburg. de; Deutsches Seminar der Universität Freiburg, Platz der Universität 3, 79085 Freiburg, Germany) before 10 Oct 2012. Please attach a valid copy of your certificate of enrolment. By submitting their contribution, participants agree to a possible publication afterwards. Every competitor may hand in one essay only. The best 10 essays will be awarded book prizes with an overall worth of Euro 1,700. Sufficient quality provided, successful contributors will be offered the prospect of publication of the winning essays by our partner, Rombach publishing house. The jury consists of members of the University of Freiburg Centre for Medieval Studies. The jury reserves the right to not award the prize at all or not for all places.
Bent Johannes Gebert, M.St. (Oxford)
Deutsches Seminar - Germanistische Mediävistik
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Platz der Universität 3
79085 Freiburg
Tel.: (0761) 203-2026

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