Please find below the short abstracts of the selected papers for the Graduate Conference. Let them inspire and motivate you to register for the conference! To register, fill in this form.

Session 1: Approaches to manuscripts

Chair: Lenneke van Raaij

Matanja Hutter (University of Amsterdam / Université Paris-Sorbonne)

A New Phenomenon in Medieval Dutch Manuscript Rubrication? The Particular Case of Three Rijmbijbel Manuscripts

From the ca. 75 fragments of manuscripts of the Rijmbijbel that have been conserved, three have a very particular rubrication of a part of the text. For Dutch texts written in rime and in two or three columns, it’s quite common to see the first capital letters of each verse rubricated. Normally a single trace per letter or one long trace for the ‘column’ of capital letters. The Rijmbijbel fragments that are the subject of this paper all have a single line drawn in between the capital letters and the rest of the column. Only one other fragment, with the text of the roman of Walewein is known to have this kind of rubrication. This paper aims to find out the relation between these three fragments, which are currently conserved in Riga, Utrecht and Gent.

Anton ten Klooster (Tilburg University)

The Interaction of Manuscript Studies and Theology

Many of the documents studied by experts of the medieval manuscripts are theological in nature. But very often the researcher’s interest is in other subjects than the theological content. Theologians on the other hand are interested in theological content of manuscripts, but often lack the time or expertise to evaluate a manuscript. This paper reports a theologian’s effort to do justice to both the material bibliography and the theological content of the MS Basel Universitätsbibliothek V.12, a preliminary edition of which was recently published.


Session 2: Manuscripts and the margins

Chair: Rozanne Versendaal

Nick Pouls (Utrecht University)

Leaving traces in the margins of the Moralia in Iob: case studies of attention and quatation signs in Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Hs. 86 from the Utrecht Abbey of St. Paul

The manuscript Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Hs. 86 is a late eleventh century copy of the text of Moralia in Iob by Pope Gregory the Great (c.540-604). This manuscript contains some extraordinary palaeographical and codicological features, such as dry-point signs in the margins, interlinear glosses, corrections, comments, parchment without a clear flesh- or hairside, and white lines that have been drawn at the beginning of several sentences. The text of Moralia in Iob was probably copied in the Utrecht Abbey of St. Paul by at least six different well-practiced hands, which alternated one another regularly. How was this manuscript used by readers?

Eline Gielen (Utrecht University)

Beyond black and white

In the fifteenth century, a group of monochrome miniatures was created by unidentified masters, called the Masters of the Delft Grisailles. These grisailles have survived in sixteen predominantly Northern Netherlandish manuscripts. They are always bound in as single leaves, but due to the number of grisaille manuscripts decorated with Delft penwork and border decoration – nine out of sixteen –  A.W. Byvanck and other scholars have localised the grisailles in Delft. However, based on the patronage of grisaille manuscript Leiden BPL 224, P. Obbema claims that the grisailles must have been produced in Leiden. The aim of this study is to critically examine the arguments of  both camps, including different aspects of decoration and text in the grisaille manuscripts. The results suggest a strong connection of the grisailles to Delft. Nevertheless, it cannot be refuted that the grisaille miniatures were produced in multiple towns in the county of Holland, not just in Delft or Leiden. Their origin may not be as black and white as previous scholarship has suggested.


Session 3: Books and illustrations

Chair: Rozanne Versendaal

Valerie Gersen (Utrecht University)

Miniatures ‘on Spec’: Bruges Books of Hours for the English Anonymous Market

In the fifteenth century, Bruges Books of Hours were produced as stock products without any prior commission, and were subsequently sold on the English speculative market. ​The expansion of the market called for differentiation of the workshop’s manufacturing strategies. The paper will present the methods used to examine the manufacturing strategies employed by both the Beaufortgroup and the Gold Scrolls Group.

Anna de Bruyn (Utrecht University)

Picturing printed illustrations in Augsburg: The woodcuts in Johannes Bämler’s incunabula

Johannes Bämler (1430–1503), illuminator, printer and bookseller printed his famous incunabula in Augsburg, many of which were illustrated. The presentation explores how he carried out his trade, and what kind of decisions he made regarding his illustration practices, to show in what manner he contributed to the development of the illustrated book. For this, an analysis of the illustrations’ visual and technical elements will be related to Bämler’s role as illuminator, printer and bookseller.


Session 4: Manuscripts and texts

Chair: Lenneke van Raaij

Marian de Heer / Annemarie Veenstra (Utrecht University)

The odd one out: researching a quire that ended up in the wrong manuscript

The tenth-century manuscript Troyes, Médiathèque du Grand Troyes, ms. 1979 is an interesting collection of liturgical and educational texts, such as expositions on the Creed and the trinity, penitentials, capitularies, canon law, etc. But within this manuscript is one divergent quire, which appears to be added to the manuscript at a rather random place, in the middle of another text, and with  obvious differences in palaeography. This raises some interesting questions: what kind of text does the quire contain? Where did the quire come from? And why did it end up in this manuscript? This paper will be aimed at our approach to the research of this quire and how we tried to found out where the text on this quire was probably written, what sort of text it contains, and what was on the desk of the scribe while composing this text.

Ria Paroubek-Groenewoud (Utrecht University):

Transmission of medical knowledge in early medieval times

This paper will focus on one of the recipes in the margins of the manuscript of London BL Add 19725. Through a careful analysis of the text and the origins I will hopefully shed new light on how medical knowledge transferred in early medieval times.


Session 5: Manuscripts and Digital Humanities

Chair: Rozanne Versendaal

Suzette van Haaren (University of Groningen / University of St Andrews)

Preserving parchment in binary: what happens when the manuscript meets the digital

This paper looks at the important trend of digitising medieval manuscripts and what it means for the way we handle them. Digital reproduction of our cultural heritage has huge consequences for our perspective on these historical objects and their materiality. Moreover, digital materiality and digital sustainability are fundamental issues when looking at the increasing importance of digital technologies in manuscript research and the humanities.

Nadine Kuipers (University of Groningen)

Nodes and Hedges: Creating a Network of Husbandry Books

This paper aims to raise several questions concerning the use of network visualisations in the context of manuscript studies. Taking my own research on agricultural texts in household miscellanies as a point of departure, I will reflect on recent developments in digital humanities scholarship and discuss the benefits and problems of incorporating network visualisations and theory into a PhD dissertation.

Anders Hast (Uppsala University)

Easy Access and Transcription of Medieval manuscripts

Transcription is a tedious task that can be made simple by handwritten text recognition techniques, such as word spotting. It will be shown how transcription can be done in a new way, but also how researchers can get easy access, using similar techniques, to medieval manuscripts that are otherwise not searchable.


Keynote lecture

Irene van Renswoude (History of Knowledge, Huygens ING (KNAW)/ Utrecht University)

Forbidden books. Readers’ responses in manuscripts and early printed books, 650-1600

Long before the first Index of Forbidden Books (1559) was published in Rome, booklists circulated with titles and authors a good Catholic should not read. In spite of papal prohibitions, blacklisted books were read, studied, annotated, copied and eventually printed by readers interested in contested knowledge. Annotations in the margins show how readers responded to dangerous content and negotiated the boundaries of knowledge. In this lecture, we will follow the paper trail of forbidden books, from the first annotated manuscript of the arch-heretic Pelagius to the mutilated portrait of Erasmus in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia.