CLAS 3600: Medieval Manuscripts at UVa [3]

Gregory Hays, Associate Professor

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of medieval manuscripts, built around the holdings of the Small Special Collections Library at UVa. We will look at the production and use of books in medieval culture and at some particular types of manuscript (Bibles, Book of Hours). We will also consider the manuscript as an object of collecting in the modern age and the problems (including ethical issues) involved with manuscript fragments. We will give some attention to the move from manuscript to print in the fifteenth century, and the impact on manuscripts of the "post-print" culture of the twenty-first. On a concrete level we will practice reading the three most common medieval script families (Carolingian, Gothis and Humanistic). Most days will include hands-on time in Special Collections.

Student responsibilities will include secondary reading and some transcription exercises, plus a short (300.) writing assignment. As a culminating project, each student will give a 20-minute illustrated presentation on a manuscript or fragment in the UVa collection. No previous familiarity with manuscripts is assumed. Some knowledge of Latin would be handy, but is not a prerequisite.