Friday, 01 February, 2013
"Texts at Work," February 1-2, 2013
The Eighth Annual Marco Manuscript Workshop, organized by Professors Maura K. Lafferty (Classics) and Roy M. Liuzza (English), focuses on manuscripts as tools. Modern book dealers and collectors rank books by the degree to which they approach the ideal of the pristine new copy; notes and signs of use are considered defects and reduce a book's value. This was clearly not the attitude of most makers and users of books in the Middle Ages, for whom books were the working tools needed to perform the liturgy, for public reading, for public teaching and private study, for contemplation, for organizing the practical and theoretical knowledge of medicine and law, for preserving and making accessible legal documents, for understanding the nature of the past, the natural world and the divine, for private prayer, for self-improvement. Most manuscripts show signs of use. Sometimes these are the uses for which the manuscript was intended (such as stress accents in books used for public reading or vernacular glosses in Latin texts); in other cases they try to improve the usability of the book (corrections, interpolations, glosses, chapter titles, running heads, indices, tables of contents, and so forth). And in many other cases the generous margins or blank leaves of a manuscript invited other kinds of use: records of significant events, transactions important to an ecclesiastical foundation, ancillary texts on related topics, recipes and prayers, records and commonplaces, memorabilia and scribbles. How do these additions relate to the manuscript's main texts? How do we read a manuscript as a living text with a busy life?
Workshop sessions will be devoted to each invited presenter's project; participants will be asked to introduce their text and its context, discuss their approach to working with their material, and exchange ideas and information with other participants. As in previous years, the workshop is intended to be more a class than a conference; participants are encouraged to share new discoveries and unfinished work, to discuss both their successes and frustrations, to offer both practical advice and theoretical insights, and to work together towards developing better professional skills for textual and codicological work. We particularly invite the presentation of works in progress, unusual manuscript problems, practical difficulties, and new or experimental models for studying or representing manuscript texts.
The workshop is also open at no cost to scholars and students who are interested in sharing a lively weekend of discussion and ideas about manuscript studies.
All sessions will take place in the West Wing (rm 440) of the Haslam Business Building. Please visit the website of the Marco Institute or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and updates.