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Abstract

This article explores the impact and challenges of digitizing medieval manuscripts. Initially celebrated for democratizing access to cultural heritage, digitization has yet to fully realize its potential in reaching broader, more socially diverse audiences. Accessibility remains constrained by factors including the digital divide and the specialized nature of online manuscript portals. Central to the discussion is the material turn in digitization practices, focusing on capturing the material features of physical manuscript books. The article underscores the sensory and experiential disparities between physical and digital manuscripts, advocating for techniques such as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), sound effects, and videos of manuscript handling to convey material and sensory features in a digital environment and enrich the virtual manuscript experience. In conclusion, the article calls for sustained investment in enhancing the accessibility of digitized medieval manuscripts, aiming to benefit both manuscript researchers and broader audiences, all while considering the associated costs and environmental impacts.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo

Abstract

This article discusses the different lives of the short moral treatise Le chemin de l’ospital, which was written by the French nobleman and military officer Robert de Balsac in the late fifteenth century. The moral treatise lists various types of people whose bad behavior has earned them a place in the hospital or poorhouse. In the late 1480s, Le chemin de l’ospital was included in the richly illuminated manuscript MS Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, 167. The text was probably printed for the first time in Toulouse between 1494 and 1501. Several other editions were printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This article examines the relationship between the Le chemin de l’ospital and its various material manifestations over time. It argues that material context and paratext influenced the intended reception of the text and it emphasizes how materiality and paratext could shift the intended reading from purely moral to playful and parodic based. The study thus highlights the transformative power of materiality and paratext the late medieval and early modern period, particularly in relation to parody, and underlines the role of printers in shaping intended reception.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
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Abstract

Bible journaling is a creative practice that has become increasingly popular within Christian communities over the past few years, particularly in the United States and the Netherlands. Journalers decorate, illustrate, and annotate their Bibles with colourful drawings and extensive notes as a devotional practice and as a way of shaping personal connections with the transcendent. When comparing these practices with early modern Bible use, striking parallels appear. These can provide further insight into the why of the active involvement of believers in the material construction and customisation of Bibles. Both modern and early modern Bible use activities can be understood as forms of ‘vernacular religious creativity’, as individuals engage in a creative manner with and within the material space of their Bibles in order to establish meaningful connections with a higher entity.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo

Abstract

This article examines the interaction on the page and in the book of the visual and textual representations of space. Its focus is on mappae mundi ‘world maps’ and the geographical extracts from the twelfth century encyclopedic text Imago mundi. Using the examples of map and text interaction in four manuscripts from the British Isles and the Netherlands, the article demonstrates that the juxtaposition of image and text can directly affect the reader’s potential physical experience of the book. The dynamics of reading demonstrated in the course of this analysis show a symbiotic relationship between the map and the geographical, historical, and theological material which it accompanies. An important implication of this finding discussed in the concluding section of the article is that the juxtaposition of map and text does not always correspond to our contemporary disciplinary definitions, and that it is worth questioning the assumption that these are the result of scientific evolution.

Open Access
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo
In: Quaerendo