The digital medieval manuscript : approaches to codicology
40016097/MAK/ILE (PBC scholarship)
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This thesis explores how digitisation affects the way we perceive, handle, encounter, keep, preserve, and understand medieval manuscripts. With digitisation gaining ever-more importance, today, we encounter medieval manuscripts mostly in their digital form. This study reflects on how medieval manuscripts function and move as cultural (devotional, historical, archival, heritage) objects in an increasingly digital culture. Chapter 1 comprises a theoretical and methodological framework which discusses relevant ideas about codicology, (digital) materials and materiality, reproduction and copying. This thesis uses digital codicology to analyse the core case studies’ material elements, its place as cultural object and carrier of knowledge and tradition, and its position in history, in relation to the physical manuscript. Chapter 2 explores the Bury Bible (CCCC, ms. 2) and looks into how the digital facsimile is made and what digitisation practices mean for how the Bury Bible is revealed to or obscured for the audience in digital space. The chapter considers how the manuscript’s material properties are presented the digital object, and what this brings to light about its intellectual, cultural and institutional contexts. Chapter 3 looks at a Der naturen bloeme manuscript (KB, KA16), focusing on the ways in which digitisation facilitates fragmentation and the hyper-expansion of the manuscript, fostering re-use and appropriation in social media environments. The chapter thinks about how the digital manuscript functions in larger cultural narratives and how it is used once it enters seemingly unbound digital space. Chapter 4 details the prayer book of Mary of Guelders (SBB-PK, ms. germ. qu. 41 and ÖNB, cod. 1908) explores ideas about fragility, looking at how the manuscript is sustained in digital space, and how, in turn, the fragile material of the digital object is often disregarded. It studies the relationship between digitisation and preservation practices, and how this affects meaning and value we ascribe to the manuscript and the digital facsimile.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2027-04-04
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 4th April 2027
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