Dear Colleagues and Manuscript Lovers,
How the time has passed swiftly, from non-winter to early spring! The next issue of Manuscripts on My Mind is scheduled for May, 2012, so it is time for me to ask you to send me news on all possible manuscript-related topics: exhibitions, conferences, events; queries, discoveries, new publications, and the like. As I wrote in the previous letter, if you have attended any especially interesting manuscript activities in the past four months and would like to share your impressions with others, please feel free to submit a report or review.
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 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.
Yours in manuscript studies,