Spring 2016 Undergraduate English Courses: Medieval
358:309 Medieval Paleography
01 MW3 CAC 17366 OBYRNE McDonnell Room Alexander Library
How do scholars approach medieval manuscripts? How does one determine the date and provenance of a manuscript? What can a manuscript description tell us about the creation, history, and use of the manuscript? This course will introduce graduate and advanced undergraduate students to paleography (the study of ancient handwriting) and codicology (the study of the codex book). The course examines the development of handwriting styles in Europe from the late Roman Empire to the advent of the printing press. Students will develop the skills necessary to read and transcribe the scripts used in medieval manuscripts. They will become familiar with common reference materials used for describing and dating manuscripts, and they will develop an understanding of the history of book production in the Middle Ages. Archival skills will be stressed as students learn to handle, examine, read, describe, and analyze medieval books. Students should expect to spend time in a rare book room at a local library to complete their final project.
Assessment will be based on class participation, regular short presentations, two exams, and a research project.