As part of the Biblifram research project on libraries in medieval France, an international conference "Cistercians and the transmission of texts (12th-18th c.)" on the role of Cistercian abbeys and their book collections in the history of text transmission is organized at the Médiathèque du Grand Troyes (22-24 Nov. 2012).
The Cistercians are well known for their centralized organization and for aiming at uniformity in architecture, arts, liturgy and daily life, as well as for the importance of pragmatic script in the Order governance. Their efforts in searching for texts and editing them are, on the contrary, little known. Yet, their rich and sometimes huge libraries as well as the rare texts they often contain, contradict the idea of an Order poorly involved in scholarly studies.
Where did Cistercians get there texts from? Which networks or relationships could they employ and benefit from? On which criteria did they choose the works and the exemplars to be copied? Did they set rules, methods and goals to their search for texts? Have Cistercians been transmitting texts by chance or because their interest for textual studies was much greater than we usually assume?
Textual traditions and inventories of ancient Cistercian libraries have to be explored and studied in order to trace specific features of Cistercian libraries, possibly reveal a common cultural or spiritual identity, and observe how these libraries evolve until the French Revolution.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Papers on Cistercian manuscripts and libraries from the 13th c. onwards, covering the late Middle Ages or the early modern period, will be welcome, as the Order’s historical studies tend to give less attention to these time periods.
Papers, of 40 minutes, will be preferably given in French (if not, a substantial abstract or a French translation will be made available to the public). A session with smaller papers (20 minutes) will be organized to present case studies (e.g. Cistercian transmission of a unique text). Proposals should mention for which category the paper is presented.
To propose a paper, please send a brief abstract (3000 characters max. + name and affiliation) to Biblifram coordinator Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk (anne-marie.turcan [at] irht.cnrs.fr). The deadline for receipt of submissions is 15 April 2012.
30 March 2012: deadline for paper proposal submission
15 May 2012: Notification of acceptance
30 June 2012: Definitive program
22 November 2012: Keynote lecture on Cistercian libraries, followed by cocktail reception
23 November 2012: Thematic sessions — Exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Clairvaux’s library
24 November 2012: Thematic sessions — Exhibition of printed books from the Clairvaux library
Travel expenses, accommodation and lunch are covered for accepted papers.