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University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA 52242-1320)
Jonathan Wilcox (Project Director: March 2014 to September 2016)
The Materiality of Medieval Manuscripts: Interpretation Through Production

A four-week seminar for sixteen college and university faculty to explore the production of manuscripts and the role of these works in medieval culture.

A return to the manuscripts characterizes many fields of medieval studies. Codicology and palaeography - study of the physical form of a book and of the handwriting within it - have long been fundamental tools for scholars of the Middle Ages, yet few have cut a quill or written on parchment with oak-gall ink, still less scraped and stretched an animal skin, cut and folded parchment, then designed and organized text and decoration on the resulting pages. This seminar will enable participants to do precisely those things, and consider the insight that hands-on engagement with the material aspects of medieval book production can provide for the understanding of history and the interpretation of texts. Such an approach is especially valuable in the present age of online resources that provide unprecedented access to high-quality images of medieval manuscript pages. This seminar will theorize and explore the significance of the material manuscript in the digital age.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
Literature, Other; Medieval History; Medieval Studies

Seminars for Higher Education Faculty

Education Programs

$141,286 (approved)
$134,678 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2014 – 9/30/2016