Albert Derolez

M-20, Introduction to Western Codicology

18-22 July 2011


1)    How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)

1: Very useful. 2: Helpful—depends on one's familiarity with the subject. I found the AD chapter the most useful of the three. 3: Very useful. AD often referred to them and gave us recommendation for more readings. 4: They were absolutely necessary to give the student important background knowledge, especially if not already familiar with codicology. 5: Very well selected. These gave us excellent preparation. 6: Extremely useful, they provided a broad and thorough foundation for our class discussions and learning experience. 7: The readings were necessary to follow this intensive course. 8: Very good overview, and I'm glad I did them not too far in advance. 9: The readings are helpful, but I had read most of them before anyway. 10: Extremely useful. 11: Essential. Very useful; provide the foundation for the week's work and discussions. 12: Very useful.

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

1: Yes, but there were a few lacunae in the workbook, and it would have been ideal to have handlists of objects to be examined included (UVA, LC, and Folger). 2: Yes to both. 3: Yes. I plan on keeping my workbook as part of the manuscripts catalogers 'bible' I am beginning to grow. 4: The course book will be an important reference tool in the future. 5: Yes, the workbook was well designed and thorough. It will become a permanent reference for me. 6: Certainly. 7: The workbook was the most helpful workbook I have ever used in a class. I am sure I will use it again. 8: Very much so—we covered every page of the workbook at some point, and it will serve as a handy reference to go with the copious notes I took. 9: Yes, I intend to keep it and look it over, of course. 10: Yes. 11: To the point and useful. I will return to my workbook again and again in my work. 12: Yes, and they will remain useful in the future.

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: Reading catalog descriptions of MSS, ruling patterns, exercises on statistical paleography. Intellectual level was appropriate. 2: Exercises and discussion of quantitative codicology; ms descriptions and discussion of reading list were perhaps the most relevant. I also found valuable AD's informal comments and observations. 3: I was most interested in codicology and learning the physical makeup of these curious books. As an art historian, learning about medieval manuscripts outside of the miniatures/decorations was of the greatest interest. 4: The practical experience of using the catalogues and especially handling the manuscripts was most useful to me. 5: Greatest interest was to work with AD. What a privilege. 6: The time spent studying ruling patterns, quire structures and types of initials were of particular interest (and will be most useful to me). 7: I profited greatly from the visual aids (slides, workbook, and AD's own parchment and paper samples) and the hands-on experience at UVA SC and the LC. 8: We began high and ended higher. This course was for serious and advanced students and practitioners. I am amazed at how much territory we covered. 9: Likely the portions dealing with the codicological description of quires, etc. to facilitate making quick yet accurate descriptions. 10: As a beginner, I often had to race to catch up to the class level, but it was always possible to do so. 11: Honestly, all of it was of the greatest and relevance. The level was very appropriate. 12: Learning how to describe a manuscript properly and how to look for unusual and therefore potentially significant features. Yes, the intellectual level of the course was appropriate.

4)    What did you like best about the course?

1: Instructor's wit and depth of experience. 2: Getting to grips with ruling and quiring (previous gaps in my knowledge) exposure to Humanist mss from Italy. Washington field trip also valuable, especially LC visit. Also, good dynamic developed in the group, good contacts to keep (personally and professionally). 3: All of the handling in SC/the field trip to DC institutions was invaluable. 4: The trip to Washington, DC. 5: The environment was perfectly balanced between serious professionalism and friendly collegiality. I learned a lot from my classmates. 6: I enjoyed AD's teaching most of all—he's a superb scholar, an extremely fine and enthusiastic teacher and a wonderful man. I am immensely grateful to have had this chance to learn from him. 7: AD and the manuscripts and fragments. 8: As usual, the collective experience of everyone in the class was a most extraordinary asset. I learned on breaks and over dinner as well as during class periods. 9: The intro to some of the bibliographical sources was surprisingly helpful. 10: I liked all the exercises we did in the classroom and SC. The field trip was a high point, also. 11: AD. Intellectually generous, extremely leaned and knowledgeable, pleasant, funny, helpful. The ideal RBS instructor. And, of course, getting to work with medieval MSS. 12: AD's sense of humor, opinions, and observation. My classmates.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, the practical exercises in class. AD willing to answer questions. 3: Yes. AD is an absolute reigning expert and founder in the field and had clarified and illuminated information, knowledge, and skills. 4: Yes. 5: Absolutely. Not enough superlatives for this. 6: AD is as generous with his time and knowledge as he is intelligent. Extremely! 7: Yes. 8: Most assuredly—I was grateful for the chance to handle manuscripts but much more grateful to have an interpreter/guide. 9: Of course. He knows what he's doing. 10: Yes, I really enjoyed getting a chance to learn from AD. He's a wonderful teacher. 11: Without a doubt. 12: Yes.

6)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/ N

1-2: Yes. 3: Yes, and more. 4-10: Yes. 11: Yes, and more! 12: Yes.

7)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N

1: Yes. 2: Yes. Would love to continue but no complaints. 3: Yes, and more. 4-7: Yes. 8: Yes, and much more! 9-10: Yes. 11: Yes, and more! I also learned much that I didn't expect to learn, all of which will be immediately and immensely useful in my work on numerous codicological projects I'm currently working on. 12: Yes.

8)    How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: In teaching and scholarship. 2: In a possible research project and definitely in teaching. 3: I intend to collect all notes, create a document to refer back to constantly when cataloging. 4: I intend to use this knowledge when conducting research for my dissertation. 5: This is directly applicable to my field. I catalogue medieval mss. 6: In my own research and in my teaching. 7: This course will help me as I work with manuscripts in my dissertation research. Eventually I will teach some of this information to my students when I am a professor. 8: There is no one at my institution with specialized knowledge in my discipline, so I hope to become the person to introduce students to relevant manuscripts. 9: To deal with and describe MSS appropriately as my research comes upon it. 11: MSS cataloging. Pedagogy/teaching. Codicological research. Paleographical transcription. 12: I will use them as I research manuscripts for my dissertation and for future museum work.

9)    How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.

2: This is an excellent course. There was plenty to engage students of different levels. 3: More exercises or "drills" would have been challenging but good. 4: I can't think of a different course, but you should get Jim Graham at the University of New Mexico to teach, especially if you need a new instructor for paleography or codicology in the future. 6: Not at all. 7: I would like to learn more about paleography and manuscript illumination (please offer these courses next year.) 8: A CD-ROM or other such collection of the slides shown in class would allow even better reference after the course is over. 9: N/A. 10: Many of my classmates seem to need a more advanced version of the class. 11: Two weeks, please! 12: The course cannot be improved! I cannot think of even the most minor quibble.

10)    If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: [see #9 which addresses this question] A field trip can be, and certainly was in this course, a great way to build a sense of community in the class. 2: Excellent. Everyone knows that the Folger visit was not as successful as LC, but I did like AD's comments on the MSS. 3: Yes. The time in SC (especially) the tour on lunch was especially good.4: The times in SC and DC with the manuscripts was the reason I took the class, so, yes. 5: I would not recommend taking a class like this one to the Folger. We weren't allowed to tough the mss. 6: It certainly was—excellent use was made of SC. 7: Yes! 8: Our trip to the Library of Congress was most fascinating—we got to spend quality time in front of each MS and look deeply at them. The Folger required handlers, so I didn't get so much from their collection. 9: Yes, and the trip to DC was especially good. 10: Yes, absolutely. 11: Yes. We went to the LC and the Folger. It would have been nice to have been able to actually examine the Foger MSS ourselves, but still a worthwhile stop. The LC visit was fantastic. 12: Yes. Without a doubt.

11)    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?

2: Seemed to be OK. It was a bit hard sometimes with twelve students but it would be hard to say that more should be turned away. 3: I think all was more than done appropriately. 4: None. 5: The staff handled these with great care and awareness of preservation issues. 6: Always allow students to touch the manuscripts (supervised)! 7: I think that the SC librarians should assist the professor more in handling delicate materials just to be extra careful. 8: Both staffs were clear about handling procedures, and the students were very respectful. I hope the liberality with advanced classes will continue. 9: N/A. 12: None.

12)    If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1: Yes. 2: Enjoyed lecture, not able to get to other events because of other commitments that arose. 3: Yes. The lecture was great and booksellers very welcoming. Thanks. 4: Yes. 5: Siva Vaidhyanathan's lecture was fantastic. What an extra treat for us. Thanks! 6: Yes. 7: N/A. 8: I attended only one—Siva's talk—but it was well worth it! 9: They were just okay, no great, not bad, although I did not attend them all. 11: Yes. 12: Booksellers' night was great.

13)    Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, great course. 3: Yes. It was a privilege to study here. I feel immensely lucky to have gained the support of a scholarship to solidify my interests and knowledge and only do more with it all! 4: Yes. 5: Absolutely. Very happy customer. 6: Absolutely, well worth it. 7: Yes. 8: ABSOLUTELY! Can't wait 'til next time! 9: Yes. 11: YES. Don't hesitate to take this course. AD is fantastic! 12: Yes. Definitely take this course if you are even the slightest bit interested.

14)    Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes. 2: Yes and will. 3: Yes, and I hope I will be back!!! 4: I would recommend this course to others with the qualification that they should already have some knowledge of paleography and codicology. 6: I would and I will! Thank you! 7: Enthusiastically yes! 8: DITTO! 9-10: Yes. 11: Yes! 12: Yes, absolutely.

Number of respondents: 12





Institution gave me leave




I took vacation time




N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off




I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course






Institution paid tuition




Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself




Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship





Institution paid housing




Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing




N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home







Institution paid travel




Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel




N/A: lived nearby





There were 6 Ph.D. students (50%), 1 academic administrator (9%), 1 general librarian with some rare books duties (8%), 1 manuscripts cataloger (9%), 2 rare book librarians (16%), 1 general librarian with no rare books duties (8%).

Where did you stay?

Brown College—5

The Lawn—3

Courtyard Marriott—1