Books of Hours as Windows on the Medieval World


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A Presentation by Kasia Leouis, Washington University in St. Louis

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  • Introduction.Focus of presentation today centers on collaborative activities with Prof. Alicia Walker, medievalist art historian at Wash U. Alicia teaches courses such as Introduction to Medieval Art and Medieval France. We have used the collection of Books of Hours (10 manuscripts) in Olin Library’s special collections, to introduce students to medieval culture and artistic practices through a hands-on workshop.
  • Books of Hours as Windows on the Medieval World

    1. 1. Introducing Undergraduates to Illuminated Manuscripts<br />Books of Hours as Windows on the Medieval World:<br /> Kasia Leousis<br /> Washington University in Saint Louis<br />Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Discussion Group, WESS<br /> ALA Midwinter<br /> January 9, 2011<br />
    2. 2. The workshop<br />5 Books of Hours, 10 students in pairs<br />Review standard structure of Mss. <br />Codicological features<br />Calendar<br />Hours of the Virgin<br />Cycle of illustrations<br />Patronage or personalization?<br />Special prayers<br />
    3. 3. Hands on activities<br />
    4. 4. Codicological features <br />Ruling<br />Pricking<br />Initials<br />Catchwords<br />Quires<br />Hair<br />Marginialia<br />
    5. 5. How does you’re the manuscript in your hands compare to a “standard” structure in a typical book of hours? <br />Are the prayers standard in the Hours of the Virgin?<br />What cycle of illustrations were depicted by the artist?<br />What does it lack? What does it include?<br />What additional prayers or visual cycles are included?<br />How can we determine the patron or owner of this manuscript? Is there any personalization? Or indication of a particular patron’s identity?<br />Discussion questions<br />
    6. 6. “They are learning historical perspective and a sensitivity to the past. And they can hold the past, in book form, literally and carefully in their own hands.”<br />--Ruth Mortimer<br />From her 1983 article in Wilson Library Bulletin, “Manuscripts and Rare Books in an Undergraduate Library.”<br />
    7. 7. International Center of Medieval Art<br /><br />Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), ACRL<br /><br />Rare Book School<br /> <br />Resources<br />
    8. 8. Alvarez, Pablo. “Introducing Rare Books into the Undergraduate Curriculum.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 7.2 (2006): 94-103.<br />Carlin, Jane A., and Cindy B. Damschroder. “Beautiful and Useful: The Book as a Learning Object: Using an Honors Seminar to Explore Information Literacy and Critical Thinking.” C&RL News 70.3 (2009): 168-171.<br />Mortimer, Ruth. “Manuscripts and Rare Books in an Undergraduate Library.” Wilson Library Bulletin 58.2 (1983-1984): 107-110.<br />Schmiesing, Ann, and Deborah R. Hollis. “The Role of Special Collections Departments in Humanities Undergraduate Teaching: A Case Study.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 2.3 (2002): 465-480.<br />Smith, Steven Escar. “From ‘Treasure Room’ to ‘School Room’: Special Collections and Education.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 7.1 (2006): 31-39.<br />Bibliography <br />