Call for Papers – On the borders of manuscripts and incunables, preliminary or final additions to the original text

Organisateurs IRHT

Many manuscripts and incunables contain texts and annotations that were added during their production or over their lifetime. The first to intervene in these volumes was the scribe or the editor, but very often readers, librarians, and archivists made marginal notes or indexes in order to facilitate consultation. Publishers and printers in the late Middle Ages also marked up books for editing and type-setting. All these additions, often original and sometimes unique, provide valuable information on the textual tradition.

To supplement the existing works on prologues and colophons and to pursue our research that we initiated last year about margins (Leeds IMC 2019), we propose to make a thorough examination of some poorly exploited additions that were adjoined later by readers or librarians.

We are interested by all kind of preliminary or final additions: titles and frontispiece pages, prologues, tables of contents and indexes; invocations; opening or concluding poems; texts inserted to support the principal subject of the books, etc.

Indeed, a thorough examination of these additions will allow us to understand how medieval and modern readers foresaw the organisation of the books and what kind of tools they used to facilitate the consultation of data. These additions will contribute to our knowledge of the scribal traditions. What kind of remarks and secondary texts were added? Can we specify literary genres that attract this phenomenon? Can we map specific geographical areas?

Our aim is to understand how these texts and books were consulted, used and understood and how the readers became acquainted with them. We also believe that this research will contribute to the history of the texts, their dissemination and the elaboration of tools, considered essential today.

The papers may concern codices, rotuli or scrolls, and encompass all literary genres (documents, liturgical, scientific, philosophical or exegetical texts, etc.).


Type d'événement: Autre
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