Spring 2017

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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Will that Surrogate Do?: Reflections on Material Manuscript Literacy in the Digital Environment from Islamic Manuscripts at the University of Michigan Library
    (2017-06-06) Kropf, Evyn C
    The widespread dissemination of digital surrogates for Islamic manuscripts certainly has the potential to impact scholarship both positively and negatively. Realizing a positive impact is contingent on the accessibility and quality of the digital surrogates and the training extended to the scholars working with them. Indeed, while manuscript digital surrogates have the potential to enhance access for those scholars who might otherwise neglect manuscript evidence, they may also enable neglect of material qualities and with them the essential historical context for the content of a codex. This is particularly concerning for the field of Islamic manuscript studies for which so much codicological and palaeographical groundwork is yet to be conducted and ample training in material manuscript literacy is still lacking. Perhaps surprisingly, our experience with manuscript digital surrogates at the University of Michigan has demonstrated that even “materially distant” digital surrogates can actually enhance understanding of manuscript features, including appreciation for material aspects, and help advance the codicological projects of Islamic manuscript studies. The key is introducing basic material manuscript literacy via exposure to physical artifacts and relying on the surrogates as tools for descriptive training.
  • Publication
    Transcription, Translation, and Annotation: Observations on Three Medieval Islamicate Medical Texts in UPenn MS Codex 1649
    (2017-06-06) Langermann, Y. Tzvi
    Provides an introduction to previously unpublished and incomplete copies of three Arabic medical tracts translated in Judeo-Arabic: al-Mughnīfī Tadbīr al-Amrāḍ (“The Sufficient for the Management of Illnesses”) by Sa’īd ibn Hibat Allah (fols. 15-18, 40-52, 211-307), al-Adwiya al-Qalbiyya (“Cardiac Drugs”) by Abū ‘Alī Ibn Sīnā (fols. 25-39), and al- KāmilfīṢinā‘at al-Ṭibb (“The Complete [Book] in the Art of Medicine”), also known as al- Mālikī ( “The Royal [Book]”) by Abū al-‘Abbās al-Majūsī (fols. 53-210). The copies, compiled by a Jewish physician identified as David ben Shalom, were produced in Sicily in the fifteenth century in Sicily and provide a unique witness to the cross-fertilization of scientific thought in the late Middle Ages.
  • Publication
    Citation and Alignment: Scholarship Outside and Inside the Codex
    (2017-06-06) Blackwell, Christopher; Roughan, Christine; Smith, Neel
    We describe a hierarchical approach to modeling text that allows machine-actionable canonical citation of text at many levels of specificity. This model address the problem of overlapping or mutually exclusive analyses. In turn, this flexibility in citation allows rich linking of textual transcriptions and other data to regions-of-interest on digital images, of particular value to codicological and paleographic study. Our examples are from work on Byzantine manuscripts containing Greek epic poetry and scholarly commentary, but our approach can apply to any image-based project in documenting books, manuscripts, inscriptions or other text-bearing surfaces.
  • Publication
    (2017-06-06) Fraas, Mitch; Noel, William
    Manuscript Studies is a new journal that embraces the full complexity of global manuscript studies in the digital age. It has been conceived with four main goals in mind. First, to bridge the gaps between material and digital manuscript research; second, to break down the walls which often separate print and digital publication and serve as barriers between academics, professionals in the cultural heritage field, and citizen scholars; third, to serve as a forum for scholarship encompassing many pre-modern manuscripts cultures—not just those of Europe; and finally to showcase methods and techniques of analysis in manuscript studies that can be applied across different subject areas.
  • Publication
    The Handwritten and the Printed: Issues of Format and Medium in Japanese Premodern Books
    (2017-06-06) Chance, Linda H; Davis, Julie Nelson
    The act of rendering the handwritten in print participates in a long tradition of appreciation of calligraphy in East Asia. This essay considers the question of why manuscript remained the mode for representing writing well after the development of print culture in early modern Japan, forcing us to reexamine our expectations of what the term “manuscript” means: must a work be “written by hand” to be a manuscript, for instance? We argue that the use of print technology as a means to capture and disseminate the calligraphic expands the scope of current notions of what a manuscript is and challenges the model of separation between “manuscript” and “print.”
  • Publication
    The Materiality of South Asian Manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania MS Coll. 390 and the Rāmamālā Library in Bangladesh
    (2017-06-06) Fleming, Benjamin J
    The codex has become ubiquitous in the modern world as a common way of presenting the materiality of texts. Much of the scholarship on the History of the Book has taken this endpoint for granted even when discussing pre-modern writing and manuscript cultures. In this essay, I would like to open the discussion to other possibilities. I will draw on my research on medieval South Asian religions and from my hands-on work with manuscripts in two collections: the Rāmamālā Library in Bangladesh and the Indic collection at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing examples from these two collections as well as noting broader patterns within them, this essay reflects on what South Asian manuscript traditions can contribute to our understanding of the materiality of texts. First, I consider how different articulations of orality, memory, ritual, and aesthetics in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism helped to shape the development and formation of manuscript traditions in South Asia with dynamics that might differ from medieval manuscript traditions shaped by Christianity in the West. Then, I turn to specific insights into the materiality of South Asian manuscripts in relation to the task of cataloguing, preserving, and digitizing materials in the Rāmamālā library.
  • Publication
    Towards a Universal Catalogue of Early Manuscripts: Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada
    (2017-06-06) Ramsay, Nigel
    Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published by the Library of Congress in two volumes in 1935 and 1937 respectively, is a fundamental reference for the history of manuscripts in North American institutions and collections. This article explores the history of the Census' production, in particular the challenges that De Ricci faced in completing the monumental task of creating a union catalogue of manuscripts before the dawn of the digital age.
  • Publication
    (In)Completeness in Middle English Literature: The Case of the Cook’s Tale and the Tale of Gamelyn
    (2017-06-06) Stinson, Timothy
    This essay considers the ways in which incompleteness – the de facto status of virtually all of Middle English literature – is both a type of failure and a special characteristic of this literature. The discussion is framed around the incomplete Cook's Tale from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the Tale of Gamelyn, a romance frequently misattributed to Chaucer that circulated with the Canterbury Tales, often to fill the gap left by the incomplete Cook's Tale.