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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

Introduction to Illuminated Manuscripts

Roger S. Wieck

Preliminary Advices

For Catholicism, medieval and otherwise, students should read

1. Swanson, R. N. Religion and devotion in Europe, c. 1215 - c. 1515. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

2. Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the altars: traditional religion in England, c.1400 - c. 1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992; pb rep 1994.

Especially Part I, "The Structures of Traditional Religion."

Also useful to consult is a copy of the Baltimore Catechism; paperback copies (edited by either Father McGuire or Father Connell) from the 1950s can sometimes be found. An online version may be found at


Students should familiarize themselves with the basics of liturgy and of medieval time by reading

3. Harper, John. The forms and orders of western liturgy from the tenth to the eighteenth century: a historical introduction and guide for students and musicians. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.

Part I "Liturgy in the Western Church," Part II "Medieval Liturgy," and Appendix I "Important Features of the Liturgical Calendar."

Students can bring to class a

4. Latin/English Missal (pre-Vatican II only!)

Copies can be bought on the second-hand market, including eBay. RBS will lend copies to those who do not want to buy.

For illuminated manuscripts in general, read

5. de Hamel, Christopher. A History of Illuminated Manuscripts. 2nd edition. London: Phaidon, 1994 (1st edn 1986).

We will be spending some time on Books of Hours; read

6. Wieck, Roger S. Time sanctified: the Book of Hours in medieval art and life, New York: George Braziller, 1988; second edn pb 2001.

Students who already own the first edition need not buy the second, but if you have a choice, get the second edition, which includes some significant changes and added bibliography.

7. _____. Painted prayers: the Book of Hours in medieval and renaissance art, New York: George Braziller, 1997; rep pb 1999.