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Correcting late Middle English manuscripts: Masterclass with Daniel Wakelin, 19 Nov. 2012

COMMITTEE FOR PALAEOGRAPHY/BODLEIAN CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF THE BOOK
Medieval manuscripts masterclass

In copying late Middle English, as in copying other languages, scribes in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England drew on techniques long established in practice but seldom written down. Those techniques of the scribes, their collaborators and their readers can be reconstructed from the manuscripts themselves.

These techniques might sometimes have been ‘tacit’, as good as unthinking; but what is intriguing is the question whether correcting ever reflects conscious ‘second thoughts’ about the text corrected and about the process of copying it into a book. Sometimes scribes fix practical problems in scribal labour; sometimes they stop to emend or even collate texts in ways which suggest their reading of, or attitudes to, the language and works they copy. Correcting is thereby a crucial part both of the history of book production and of an interesting period in the history of responses to English language and literature.

Daniel Wakelin came to Oxford in 2011 as Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography in the Faculty of English and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College. He formerly taught in the Faculty of English and Christ’s College in Cambridge.

The class will be held on Monday, 19 November at 2:15 in the Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room

Girolamo Schola

Capituli di M. Girolamo Schola sopra varii suggetti, Girolamo Schola, [1540?]
Lawn f.44

A collection of Italian verses on a variety of subjects, including: the hat, gypsies, the goose, the horse, mustard, the cap, and sausages. The date, suggested by the British Museum’s Short-title catalogue of books printed in Italy, is supported by an early manuscript note in this Bodleian copy, which includes the date 1545.

Capituli di M. Girolamo Schola sopra varii suggetti, Girolamo Schola, [1540?], Bodleian Library Lawn f.44

A guide for confessors

Speculum confessorum et lumen conscientie, Mateo Corradone, Venice, 1538, Bodleian Library Lawn F.42

Speculum confessorum et lumen conscientie, Mateo Corradone, Venice, 1538 Bodleian Library, Lawn F.42

This Italian text serves as a guide for confessors, providing them with questions to put to those who come for confession. Each question, or set of questions, for example, “Have you cursed the sky and the stars, sun, and moon?”, is followed either by an instruction – “You have to ask how many times: ten or a hundred, etc., or more or less, etc.” – or by a statement of the seriousness of the sin (for example, “mortal”), together with references to autoritative texts on the matter. The book is held in a re-used Parchment wrapper containing a manuscript document apparently from a widow to her confessor. She asks the confessor to intercede with the bishop on her behalf, in connection with her desire to enter religion.

Avancini: 17th-century embroidered binding, on a rare meditation on the life and doctrines of Christ

The author, Nicola Avancini, was a Jesuit, and Professor of Rhetoric and Philosophy at Gratz, then of Theology at Vienna. This work, originally written in Latin, appears to have been his most enduring. It was translated into several European languages, including English in 1875. This edition of the Italian translation is unrecorded elsewhere. The binding is red silk/satin with large embroidered foliage in silver, yellow and white threads, and with gilt and gauffered edges. A child’s hand has written “magister meus et unus est Christus

Vita, e dottrina di Gesu Cristo raccolta da’quattro evangelisti, Nicola Avancini. Parma: Galeazzo Rosati, 1686. Bodleian Library Vet. F3 f.128.

“Leaves, feathers, pins, poetry and pity” – Masterclass with Chris Fletcher and Marinita Stiglitz, 12 Nov. 2012

Bodleian MS. Eng. c. 7967, a commonplace book kept by members of the Parkyns family


Masterclass on 12 November 2012, 2:15 pm
Lecture Room, Pitt Rivers Museum
Chris Fletcher (Keeper of Special collections and fellow of Exeter College) and Marinita Stiglitz (Bodleian Libraries Conservation) will explore a recently acquired commonplace book kept by the Misses Parkyns (and Aunt), Byron’s early friends at Newstead Abbey.
The session will look at the context of its acquisition and touch on the commonplace book as Byronic trophy cabinet, a source for life writing, literary reception and response.

Prof. Julia Crick, 5 November: English 10th-century manuscripts

from Martin Kauffmann

COMMITTEE FOR PALAEOGRAPHY/BODLEIAN CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF THE BOOK
Medieval manuscripts masterclass

Monday 5 November, 2.15pm, Pitt Rivers Museum lecture room
(entrance through the Museum or via Robinson Close off the South Parks Road)

Prof. Julia Crick (King’s College London)
Beyond the metropolis: script and scribes in south-western Britain in the tenth century

Localizable and datable manuscripts are in short supply in western Britain at the end of the first millennium. As a consequence a limited number of models is available to interpret the unlocalized evidence we do have. This seminar looks at a very striking instance of a manuscript assigned an English origin, containing a text of extreme pertinence to the English Benedictine reform movement of the tenth century, but copied by a scribe who was trained in a centre outside the English mainstream, under Welsh or Irish influence. The historical and palaeographical challenge of this manuscript is compounded by the fact that it represents perhaps the earliest specimen of Caroline minuscule, the script of the reform, to have been written by a scribe on this side of the English Channel.

Thomas Barlow’s legacy of manuscript additions

A grasshopper; from John Guillim, A display of heraldry (London, 1638), Bodleian I 2.9 Med, a painted copy.


Will Poole’s masterclass in treating a collection of books as a primary source took the example of Thomas Barlow (1608-1691), Bodley’s Librarian, Provost of the Queen’s College, Oxford, Professor of Divinity and Bishop of Lincoln. As Dr Poole remarked, the examples shown in the class demonstrated that in Oxford, early modern books couldn’t be neatly divided into printed books and manuscripts. The class examined extensive additions and annotations made by Barlow to his books. Some annotations fall into the category of marks of reading but others extend to subject bibliographies or biographical notes on authors. Many record politico-theological disputes of the time, with Barlow’s own vehement remarks on the pertinence of the contents. In effect, Poole pointed out, these printed books contain working notes for Barlow’s own academic life as a polemical theologian.
Locating all the copies that belonged to Barlow has taken Poole into some detective work in the Bodleian’s own archives and in the archives of the Queen’s College, two institutions which shared in Barlow’s bequest. Librarians were interested to hear what further copy-specific information could be added to catalogue records on the basis of Poole’s research.

MS. notes and the title page of Alexander Cooke, Pope Joane (London, 1625), Bodleian A 3.13 Linc., with Thomas Barlow’s references to related material in the Bodleian Library, marks of ownership, and his note on the author.

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