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The Carl Sheppard Memorial Lecture in Medieval Art History: Erik Kwakkel (The University of British Columbia)

"Everything but the Text: Medieval Book Design as a Historical Source"
October 8, 2020 - 7:00pm

Zoom (Please contact the Center for Medieval Studies for access to this event) 

Title: "Everything but the Text: Medieval Book Design as a Historical Source"

Abstract: What can we learn from medieval manuscripts by observing their material design? This lecture explores this question by focusing on such design features as the size and position of the margins, the layout of the text, and the dimensions of the book, which all provide considerable understanding of the individuals for whom the manuscripts were produced. In addition, this lecture will turn to micro design and devote attention to the shape of medieval letters, a key historical source that reveals where and when a manuscript was produced. Stopping short of arguing that we should stop reading manuscripts, this lecture makes a case for the hidden historical value of premodern book design.

Bio: Erik Kwakkel is Director and Professor in the History of the Book at the School of Information (iSchool) at The University of British Columbia (UBC). His research interests are related to the design of medieval manuscripts, and he has published several monographs and edited volumes devoted the culture of the medieval book, including, most recently, The European Book in the Twelfth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2018, co-edited with Rodney Thomson) and Books Before Print (Arc Humanities Press, 2018), a textbook for undergraduate teaching, and Medicine at Monte Cassino (Brepols, 2019, co-authored with Francis Newton). In 2015 Kwakkel was appointed to the Comité International de Paléographie Latine (CIPL).

This Event is Co-Sponsored by the James Ford Bell Library