51. Latin Paleography, 1100-1500

Albert Derolez
(Evaluation of the RBS 1993 version of this course)

An introduction to this neglected field of paleography, including reading (and expanding abbre- viations proper to various disciplines), identification, classification, dating and localization of the principal kinds of Gothic and humanistic script. Examples of Latin texts (and, exceptionally, French and English ones) will be studied from photographs, photocopies, and slides. Designed for all those who have to deal with late medieval MSS. Applicants should have a basic knowledge of Latin and of paleography.

I.How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: The English translation of Bischoff's Latin Paleography is a poor rendition of a dense text, almost unreadable in the absence of much illustration. Other readings were good. 2: Very helpful, especially Michelle Brown's book, which had plates and transcriptions and definitions of script types on facing pages. 3: Good. 4: They were quite useful in establishing the broad scope of the questions/issues to be studied in the course.

II. Was your faculty member well-prepared to teach THIS course?

1: Yes. 2: Extremely well-prepared; the slides and photocopies were well organized and AD pinpointed the relevant changes/differences/striking features of script types. Also very helpful was his habit of reinforcing the principles of classification. AD's knowledge of script types and all matters of paleography is extremely impressive. Also he is an outstanding teacher, and used a wide array of methods and projects to help us learn. 3: Ça va sans dire! 4: Extremely well-prepared.

III. Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?

1-3: Yes. 4: It was appropriately challenging.

IV. Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description? Did the course in general meet your expectations?

1-3: Yes. 4: Yes. In general the course exceeded my expectations in that AD not only provided an excellent overview of the material but also delved into substantive issues regarding the material. There was more hands-on work with transcription than I expected -- but I found it to be very useful.

V.What did you like best about the course?

1: Exposure to wide variety of scripts, with approaches for dealing with them. 2: The combination of slides/class exercises (transcriptions) and other projects made the day continually interesting. I found the transcriptions and the statistical study most enjoyable (in retrospect) hands-on learning. 3: It was very intensive and the content was rich. 4: I enjoyed the fact that the course was challenging and quick-paced. I very much enjoyed AD's teaching manner.

VI. How could the course have been improved?

2: It is hard to imagine.

Number of respondents: 4


Leave           Tuition        Housing          Travel

Institution     Institution    Institution      Institution
gave me leave   paid tuition   paid housing     paid travel

25%             25%            25%               50%

I took vaca-    I paid tui-    I paid for my     I paid my own
tion time       tion myself    own housing       travel

0%              25%            50%               25%

N/A: self-      N/A: Self-     N/A: stayed       N/A: lived 
employed, re-   employed,      with friends      nearby
tired, or had   retired, or    or lived at
summers off     exchange       home

75%             50%            25%               25%

Two students (50%) were teachers/professors, one (25%) was an antiquarian bookseller, and one (25%) was a rare book librarian.