Roger Wieck

M-50: Introduction to Illuminated Manuscripts

2-6 October 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Important, dense. 2: Very useful; well-selected and closely related to all aspects of the course. Pre-course readings were a must in order to understand the subject matter fully. 3: The readings were essential. Because the course covered so much ground and was so fast paced, the more information we brought, the better. That being said, RW was extraordinarily helpful, repeating some points on later occasion with patience and humor, when asked. 4: Excellent! Before this course, as a Jewish atheist, I knew nothing about Christianity, let alone Medieval Catholicism. Because of the readings I felt more than prepared and very little information was wholly unfamiliar! 5: The readings selected were excellent. 6: Read everything on the reading list and glad I did, because I knew little beforehand. It prepared me well for the lectures and discussions. 7: Very useful and appropriate. I could have done without some of the religious background readings, but I realize that this is necessary for some students. Absolutely necessary to have read the material. 8: Very useful readings. They provide a good background for the class. 9: The majority of the course reading was very helpful for providing a background in the fields we were to cover. 10: Extremely useful, especially RW’s books. 11: Useful. Perhaps the history of the liturgy could be combined in one book? 12: Very useful, especially RW’s books.


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. They will continue to serve as reference. 2: Yes. Very useful and will be used post-course. 3: The materials will probably be particularly helpful with future study to read about all the information given. 4: Yes. Absolutely! 5: The handbook, especially, is an excellent summary of the major highlights of the class, and will serve as a great reference source after the fact. I especially appreciate the bibliographies that have been included. 6: Definitely helpful for course and in the future investigating of Books of Hours. 7: Useful, and will be to me in the future as an aide memoire. I am sure I will refer to them and use them to prepare an overview/tutorial with my staff and to prepare an outline public presentation to use both formally in a program format and informally. I will have our medievalist, Lynn Ransom, review my work. Together I think we can put together something very worthwhile. 8: They were useful for in class exercises, but we did not follow them in order (no big deal), and not everything in the booklet was covered in class. I expect I’ll refer back to them in the future. 9: The materials distributed were informative, and will continue to be helpful after the class, but the handbook we were given was not organized according to the schedule we followed. We were given an updated syllabus, but it would have been helpful to use the handbooks more. 10-11: Yes. 12: They will be very helpful in the future, as they were in class.


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: Being able to view these treasures without a piece of glass in front was an incredible privilege, and understanding the book on a whole as pages were turned revealing narrative sequences, color, light, and the hand of the artists and scribes. 2: RW’s lectures combined with slides were important and of great interest, but the exercises performed with the Morgan’s own works were fantastic. Great combination! 3: The hands-on opportunities to research Books of Hours, to test, to date, to “translate”, to become familiar with the patterns of both Mass and private devotion, were experiences one can’t get out of a text/reference book. 4: I found it most useful to get an overview of the styles and periods. I found it useful to tackle the Book of Hours to thoroughly. Now I am confident I will be unintimidated when one crossed my path (hopefully, soon!). 5: What I very much appreciated was the manner in which the course material was introduced as separate “building blocks” of information, the totality of which ere then brought together in the study of the Books of Hours. 6: All relevant. I started knowing little. After the readings and this course, my level of knowledge is much improved. 7: Extremely useful as an introduction to our MSS collections in a general sense, what librarians are least prepared for in the rare book setting. 8: The overview of types of liturgical manuscripts and how to recognize them. That was very helpful. I also appreciated the closer look at Books of Hours. I thought the intellectual level was right on -- challenging at times, but digestible in a week. 9: The aspects of the course covering the identification of, dating of, and locating of illustrated manuscripts were of great relevance to me as a cataloguer and bookseller. The background on Catholic liturgy was a bit confusing but necessary. I did feel intellectually challenged. 10: All aspects were relevant and interesting. Explanations of the text, composition of the iconography and placement in stylistic periods and areas were especially helpful. Course is intellectually challenging. 11: Yes. The practical insights regarding how to work through a manuscript, how to locate use, &c. This concrete experience, especially pointing us to the tools, web sites, and authoritative bodies, was critical and very well done. 12: Of greatest relevance to me was the discussion of liturgical history and its connection to the art and devotional content of the manuscripts.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: RW is an extremely generous instructor and shared valuable illuminations. The Benthod Illumination stood out, as did RW’s warm laugh. The course was exceptional. Would have liked a PDF of the handout beforehand. 2: Interactive lecture where all members of class were called on, and, best of all was the exercise with Books of Hours from the Morgan’s collection. RW’s humor and knowledge are a potent blend. 3: As terrific as the hands-on experience was, it came in second to the expertise, verve, and wit of the instructor. Thank you! 4: I cannot choose! Great instructor/location/subject matter/materials. Being shown The REAL THING! Small, intimate. Extremely well organized. 5: The fact that the instructor was both generous and gracious in his sharing of the knowledge he has gained through what is a clear demonstration of his commitment to his subject. I also appreciated that there was no distinction made between those students who came with strong backgrounds in some aspect or aspects of the subject matter and those who did not. 6: Loved all of it, including interaction with others in the course, all delightful people. Best was learning from RW, tops in his field, who has a vast and intricate knowledge of the field that is astounding. And seeing the Morgan’s collection -- what a treat! 7: Viewing manuscripts up close, working with and evaluating, describing actual manuscripts, RW’s always insightful and amusing observations. 8: Having the opportunity to systematically look at so many types of medieval manuscripts. 9: I enjoyed the hands-on application of our knowledge to the Books of Hours; I feel it gave an excellent encouragement and demonstration of what we had been learning. 10: RW. His knowledge and insight combined with his ability to convey the content of the subject matter made the class exceptional. 11: The practical aspects described above. 12: Insights and specialized knowledge of the instructor and access to the manuscripts.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: There was a great respect for all material and for each other. 2: I cannot imagine or think of improvements, but I am very tired after the brainwork involved, and the concentration required. 3: The course is intensive as it is. I would benefit from a littler more time spent on scripts, but I have not a clue how that could be added. 4: It was wonderful! I have no complaints. As a suggestion (time might not allow this) I like the idea of having a question box. In the morning, the instructor takes a few minutes to address students’ questions. 5: There is nothing I would have changed! 7: Hardly. But I would have liked to have had something more on MSS technique or production. 8: More hands-on activities. 11: The overview of the church and history of liturgy is the most difficult part for non-Christians to grasp, much less memorize. In addition to streamlined reading in this area, perhaps a paper-based or audio (mp3) pre-lecture can be sent to students to help make the reading come alive. 12: I can think of no improvements; it was a great course.


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

2: RW ran a tight ship. We were carefully instructed in the use of the materials, and since we were all in awe of what we were seeing and touching, there were no problems. 4: I was thrilled that we got hands-on experience with the books. I think we took precautions... 5: N/A. 7: Class size is a factor, but I don’t think this affected the manuscripts. 8: I thought we were very cautious, so I am not worried about the materials. We would have gained more from the class with increased trust in our ability to handle the materials. 12: None.


8)   If you attended the Monday night lecture at the Grolier Club [William Noel on the Archimedes Palimpsest], was it worth attending?

2: Yes. Very interesting, and the social part following gave me a chance to get to know classmates early in the week. 3: Yes. I think there were some interesting opportunities for classmates to meet others in the book world. Plus the lecture was terrific. 4: Yes! I loved it. I poked around a little, but would have loved a guided tour. 5: Absolutely. And it was an excellent complement to the topic of the course. 6: Yes. 7: Useful as networking, and fun, but not essential. 8: Yes. 9: Yes, very interesting. 10: Yes, lecturer was engaging and topic was interesting. 11: Yes, very interesting. 12: Worthwhile, informative and entertaining.

9) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?

1: Seeing a sampling for the Morgan’s collections is a gift. I would be interested in a course offering of Secular Illuminations. The litanies, missals, hours, e&. was enlightening and now we can await Part II... 2: Absolutely! Advice: brush up on your Latin. Read the pre-course reading, particularly the Liturgical/Pre-council of Trent. Read RW’s books and then hold on for a fascinating ride through illuminated manuscripts. 3: A little more preparation in Latin would be good preparation. 4: I am thrilled with my experience. I would recommend this course happily. I would urge future students to do the reading and brush up on their Latin. I have never studied Latin in my life, and there was quite a bit of reading in Latin. Bring a magnifying glass. I got more than my money’s worth. Thank you, RW! This was a week I will never forget. PS, You might have the coolest job in the universe! 5: This class is worth far more than can be measured in dollars and cents, for it has allowed me an entry into a field that I always believed was beyond my reach. I am especially grateful for having been provided with tools, and enough knowledge and “permission” to continue to pursue this study further, which I will most certainly be doing, beginning as soon as I return home this evening!!! Thank you, thank you. 6: Yes. Do the readings. Try to attend a Mass in Latin before coming, i.e. the Sunday before somewhere in NYC with your Missal. 7: Yes. I will recommend this course to all of my staff who work with MSS as basic to understanding the material. 8: Yes, it was a wonderful class that provided me with just the sort of information I needed. 9: I do feel that a basic knowledge of Latin would be helpful, at least a brush-up on old skills, but we were certainly able to do better than I expected without it. 10: I would absolutely recommend this course, it was well worth the expense. The Morgan is a wonderful resource for this program. 11: Yes. Very much worth the time and money, especially for historians and church historians of the period. Integrating the “hands-on” experiences was especially valuable. Great. 12: This course is definitely worth the expense and the effort. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Number of respondents: 12


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

42%                            33%                            25%                            25%

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

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

17%                            58%                            8%                              42%

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

42%                            8%                              67%                            33%

There were 3 rare book librarians (25%), two teacher/professors (17%), two full-time students (17%), three book collectors (25%), and one conservator/binder/preservation librarian (8%).