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M-90. Advanced Seminar in Medieval Manuscript Studies

Barbara A. Shailor

This advanced course in medieval manuscript studies will build upon the skills acquired in introductory classes in paleography, codicology, and the history of the hand-produced book; it is intended to deepen an individual’s understanding of the varied approaches to medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

Primary working sessions will be hands-on analysis and discussion of fragments and codices (both complete and incomplete) in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library—one of the foremost collections in North America. Students will select a Yale manuscript to research and to describe in detail for a final oral presentation in the class.

In addition to practical sessions of transcribing difficult scripts from the later Middle Ages (ca. 1200–1500), there will be workshops by Yale conservators on inks and pigments, parchment, and paper, including watermark identification. There will also be a session on collating complex manuscripts and the importance of collation for understanding the production of medieval manuscripts.

The emphasis will be on research with medieval primary source materials and through PDFs of pertinent and specialized articles; digital images of comparative materials will be circulated to participants. Classes will be taught in the Beinecke Library and in the Yale Library Conservation Studio.

In their personal statement applicants should list previous courses (and dates when taken) completed at RBS and elsewhere in medieval manuscript studies, paleography, codicology, &c.; their past experience in the use of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; and their level of proficiency in Latin and other languages (e.g., Greek, Middle English, &c.).

Course Resources

Course History


Barbara Shailor teaches this course for the first time.