A series of three lectures
Watch our experts discuss our manuscripts live online and get your questions answered.
Lecture 1: Meet the fragments
Thursday 14 October 2021
5.30 – 6.15pm (BST)
Speakers: Andrew Honey, Book Conservator, Research and Teaching and Matthew Holford, Tolkien Curator of Medieval Manuscripts
Leafing through a manuscript, it’s easy to ignore the fragments of other books that were often used to strengthen its binding or as endleaves to protect the beginning and end of the text. In this session the fragments are the focus.
We will explore their physical function in manuscripts – and the bad things that can happen when they are removed for study – as well as showing what they can contribute to book history.
Watch a recording of the Meet the fragments lecture
Lecture 2: Uncomfortable English Manuscripts
Monday 8 November 2021
12.30 – 1.15pm (GMT)
Speakers: Dan Wakelin, Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography and Andrew Dunning, R. W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts
Medieval manuscripts written in early English are familiar and yet foreign to us, not only for their language but also for their style. Like their cathedral counterparts, Gothic script and page design come across to us as beautiful, austere, and distinctively uncomfortable. But is this how their designers intended them – and can we indeed speak of these books as designed?
Learn how the Middle Ages shaped the way we read today both in print and on screen.
Lecture 3: Correcting Christmas Carols
Thursday 2 December 2021
5.30 – 6.15pm (GMT)
Speakers: Micah Mackay, doctoral student in the Publication Before Print Doctoral Centre and Andrew Dunning, R. W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts
Have you ever come close to fisticuffs with a friend over the tune to which ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ should be sung? You’re experiencing a very old problem. The Bodleian’s Selden Carol Book is a famous collection of Christmas songs that only barely made it into modern consciousness: many of them survive in no other books, but have been modified in the manuscript itself, meaning that we have more than one version to choose between. How do we deal with phenomena of scribal correction, error, and variation in late medieval carols? What can this tell us about performance and the oral culture of the late medieval period? You will learn how singers lived with change in their favourite songs, and hear carols of the Middle Ages both familiar and new.
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This event is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust.