Barbara A. Shailor

H-20: The Book in the Manuscript Era

24-28 July 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Very useful. 2: The pre-course readings were essential to maximizing the experience in class. In particular the book A Guide to Western Historical Scrips from Antiquity to 1600. Also, I would recommend Latin Paleography, Antiquity, and the Middle Ages by B. Bischoff as a preliminary text. 3: Readings were quite good. Bearn was helpful in class. Bischoff will be particularly helpful in the future with the background of the class. 4: Very useful, essential even, as the course was not taught in a strictly chronological or thematic order. 5: The pre-course readings were good surveys to being before taking this course although some (with necessity) overlapped. Even though there was a large amount to cover, I was glad to have had these sources before coming to class. 6: They were very helpful. 7: The pre-course readings were very useful. The first set was most important to read before arrival. 8: More useful once the class was underway. 9: Well incorporated into class; primary reading essential. All very helpful.


2)   Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)? 

1: Yes, excellent. A tremendous aid to teaching and understanding. 2: Yes. 3: Yes, definitely. I look forward to reviewing the CD but am uncertain whether it contains sufficient commentary and context. 4: Yes, although I might suggest that the lengthy bibliography be distributed on Friday (so we don’t have to lug it around!) 5: Yes. 6: Yes, they were useful. 7: Yes. They were very appropriate. The CD of images will be really helpful especially when going over my notes later on. 8: Excellent. 9: Very much so, exercises very pertinent to discussion and made facts clear and more realistic. Many examples, given over personal CD.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: The supporting material used in the classroom was very helpful. Doing the individual research projects was also extremely helpful. Focusing on a text for a few days was a very, very useful exercise. Student reports to class were great. 2: The study of scripts was something I thought I would struggle with because I had little knowledge of it, but I was surprised how engaging the topic was. 3: Paleographical context was of greatest interest perhaps because it is most difficult to do in advance without context or examples. 4: Level was appropriate. Most useful was the history of development of scrips and how to recognize them. 5: I learned that there is so much more I need to learn, especially in reference to paleography; and this class helped me address those areas in which I hope to strengthen knowledge, but I learned an enormous amount of information concerning styles, dating, and regions for scrips and other features inherent in manuscripts. 6: The object. The intellectual level of the course was appropriate. 7: Everything was interesting. I liked going over materials in class and then seeing items in SC afterwards. It was very helpful to see real examples. 8: Field trip/SC manuscripts/Folger/LC. Handouts, course book, cd and slides, all excellent. 9: Development of letter form, types of MSS, aids to identification.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

1: Yes, definitely. Trip was useful. 2: Yes! Our field trip to Washington, D.C. was a real bonus and the items we saw left me awestruck. It was a wonderful addition to the class. 3: The SC at UVa was very helpful. I have reservations whether the full day in DC might not be better spent on further classroom activities including examinations of book reproductions and illustrations. 4: Yes. 5: Our field trip to the Folger and LC was well worth the bus ride to see so many lovely manuscripts. Everything was well worth seeing, everyone was helpful. 6: Yes, time to make field trips was well spent. 7: Absolutely! We went up to the Folger Library and the LC on Thursday to see some great things. It was worth the trip. 8: See above. Very worthwhile!! 9: Excellent.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: Excellent teacher. Great organization of sub-topic within overall topic. Succinct, focused, organized lectures. BS was very, very knowledgeable, extremely pleasant, polite, warm, helpful. Really made this a wonderful experience. 2: BS! Without a doubt, she is one of the most skillful, patient, enthusiastic, and delightful teachers I’ve ever had. She was fantastic and far exceeded my expectations. She conveyed this era as living, breathing, and human. Our class was also a wonderful mix. 3: The competence and enthusiasm of the instructor. 4: The detailed information on script development. 5: BS knows her stuff, and it was an honor and exciting to learn from her. 6: The way of teaching, the field trips in Washington, the participation of the students, working on my project. 7: Everything! The teacher, my classmates, the materials, I liked working on a project on my own to try and apply what I learned in class to something specific, and hearing what other students could find out about their own projects. 8: The instructor! Dynamic, enthusiastic, well prepared, extensive knowledge of the subject, friendly, and respectful of all students. Very impressive teacher! 9: Instructor! So knowledgeable and approachable it was a real pleasure to learn even the most arcane facts.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: Tough to do. 2: More class time, more hours in the day? I don’t know. 3: Very little improvement possible. Possibly, an hour early on the basics of Latin grammar. 4: A bit too much time devoted to working on the projects. More instruction would be better. Maybe more historical background/context and some instruction on the kinds of books being produced (Gospels, psalters, saints’ lives, etc). 6: If it could be longer. 7: If it had been longer, although I am completely exhausted from this week.. 9: Not sure.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: Everything seemed fine. 2: I found the access to be appropriate. 3: None. 4: I have to admit that I was nervous at the way some of the material was handled. The large choir book was awkwardly perched on the supports; the Books of Hours were handled somewhat cavalierly. Pages were turned, or leafed, rather carelessly too. 7: Everything was treated with great care. Passing things along in the baskets let everyone see items up close and still protected them. 8: Handling was very professional. 9: Baskets were helpful and my appreciation to examine closely all the materials in the classroom.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Did not attend Monday. Sunday night lecture could easily be improved in any number of ways. TB conveyed zero enthusiasm. 3: The Sunday and Monday lectures were well worth attending. Both interesting and challenging. 4: N/A. 6: They were worth attending. 8: Yes. Enjoyable. 9: Yes.

9) If you attended evening activities, was the time profitably spent?

1: Yes, video was good, much better than expected. 3-4: N/A. 5: It was great seeing how gold was applied to illuminated manuscripts. 6: I attended Video Night; yes, the time was profitably spent. 8: Wasn’t able to attend, unfortunately. 9: N/A. Unable to attend.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Yes. I will recommend this course highly to anyone who will listen. 2: Yes! I got my money’s worth. The experience was very enriching and rewarding, and I am eager to take another RBS course in the future. 3: I certainly received “my money’s worth”. 4: Do the readings -- it will fill in the background that isn’t really covered in class. I would like to suggest a RBS course! Something that would explain the kinds of texts we study in MS and printed book courses. What is a Breviary; what are the various incarnations of the Bible; what secular texts were important; what texts would a medieval library contain, a Renaissance, c16, c17, c18; something that would flesh out the technical aspects we study. 5: Yes. Advice: do the readings and do come. It is a valuable experience. 6: Yes, I got my money’s worth. I recommend this course. 7: I absolutely got my money’s worth. I would advise everyone considering the course to make sure they do the reading first. 8: Great week! 9: Very, very worthwhile. Be sure and do at least all of the primary readings list ahead of time, especially if you are a novice. It helps understand the presentations. Look at the pictures attentively.

Number of respondents: 9


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

55%                            22%                            22%                            33%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

22%                            55%                            55%                            44%

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              scholarship                home

22%                            22%                            22%                            22%

There were two archivist/manuscript librarians (22%), three general librarians with some rare book duties (33%), two full-time students (22%), one retiree (11%), and one book collector (11%).