M-10: Introduction to Paleography
2-6 July 2012
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: The pre-course readings provided a good general introduction to the subject. I spent even more time reviewing Latin, which helped even more. Collins' Primer to Ecclesiastical Latin was a big help. 2: Pre-course readings were very helpful. I wish there were more. 3: The pre-course readings provided a useful introduction to course themes and methods. I read some additional Latin in preparation. 4: I recommend a review of Latin grammar for this course. 5: The chapter on paleography in Powell's book was very helpful. 7: The readings were applicable and helped provide context for class discussions. 8: Useful, and not too strenuous. No. 9: I didn't have time to do the pre-course reading (my bad!) but I have studied this topic for years so I felt that I kept up. 10: Very useful. I read a few extra journal articles or book chapters on paleography as it related to art history.
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: All materials given to us will be extremely helpful in the future. 2: The workbook was useful and will be in the future. I wish we got a full transcription of all the homework assignments. 3: All the materials in the workbook and the class handouts were very useful. The CD-ROM and bibliographies in the workbook will greatly aid me in further study. 4: The workbook will be used in future—unique materials supporting methods learned in class. 5: The workbook and especially the CD-ROM will be invaluable when I have time to review them. 7: We used most of the workbook materials in class and the CD-ROM and manuscript images will be an invaluable resource. 8: Extremely, it might have been good to have more of the slides in print-out form for annotating. 9: I wish we had better/more high-res scans and bigger so we could write on them more easily. 10: Yes. They were and will be useful. 11: Yes, very much so.
3) Have you taken one or more RBS courses before? If so, how did this course compare with your previous coursework?
1: This is my first time at RBS. 2: This was my first RBS course. 3: I have not taken an RBS course previously, but if they are as wonderful as this one, I will be taking more. 4: Yes, this is my fourth RBS course. I have enjoyed every one of them; all supported my professional development. 5: Yes. This course was just as good at the first one, which I thought was top notch. The combination of an outstanding, qualified, and gifted teacher, and a variety of students who brought very different expertise and shared it generously, made for a very rich learning experience. 7: No. 8: No. 9: This was my first, but not my last! 10: Yes, Albert Derolez's codicology course was equally exceptional, and both courses go quite well together. 11: N/A.
4) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes?
1: Of most relevance: background in liturgical books, and training in determining place of origin and date (century) of MSS. 2: Just about everything in this course is relevant for upcoming projects I will be working on. 3: The aspects most helpful to me were to recognize general script hands and the many physical clues in MSS to identify (loosely) time and region. 4: Direct tutoring by instructor—her knowledge and experience. 5: 1) The many hints and clues about how to localize and date the MSS. 2) The information that two art historians in the course shared with the class. 3) Hints on cataloging techniques. 7: I enjoyed all the material we covered, but I found the transcription exercises to be of most interest. 8: Interest: English hands. Relevance: all, though more dating and locating MSS than reading them. 9: Beyond my wildest hopes this class covered exactly what I wanted to learn, tricks for localizing, dating, and reading medieval manuscripts! 10: Studying Italian humanistic and gothic scripts, the abbreviations used therein, and strategies for reading tough, cryptic words. 11: Everything from finer points of paleography to broader discussions of codicology as a whole.
5) Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: The instructor was very adept at making this subject accessible to all. The intellectual level of the course was appropriate, but we all asked "dumb" questions at times, and no one was made to feel silly. Consuelo Dutschke (CD) answered all questions in an understandable way. 2: I learned so much from CD and others in the course. 3: Yes, to both questions. The level of discourse was very high, while the information was still accessible to a non-specialist. 4: The course delivered what it promised and then some. Really glad I attended it. 5: Yes. The Latin was difficult because my preparation (review) wasn't adequate. I would have liked more French (for the MSS in the vernacular) but that's a personal preference, not a criticism. 6: Yes, without a doubt. 7: Yes. 8: Yes, within the constraints that paleography is an art and not a science, and that there are few firm rules! Intellectual level was spot on. 9: Did the instructor help us acquire the skills, yes, but I would have loved extensive post-class homework. High-res scans and translations to practice with. 10: Yes. Yes. 11: Yes, tremendously so.
6) What did you like best about the course?
1: The collegiality of the class. CD set the tone, and we all worked together and supported one another in reading the script, and contributing insights from our own work or scholarly experiences. 2: I liked everything about this course. 3: The course gave me a place to start from in examining a MS and tools to make that examination fruitful. 4: We had a really great group of people with different backgrounds and experiences who all contributed to the discussions. 5: The collaborative atmosphere—the way we all worked together, with coaching from CD, to decipher the scripts. 6: Some people who attended the course work in a field related with manuscripts, and they had the chance to speak to the class. I liked listening to the different points of view. 7: CD was an excellent instructor and she paced the course well. I enjoyed having the opportunity to look at such a great diversity of manuscripts, both on slides or (especially!) in Special Collections (SC). 8: The interchange of information with other students in the course combined with CD's guidance. 9: I learned so much, and everyone in the room had some unique perspective and insight into the topic. 10: Learning to read difficult letterforms and abbreviations so that texts became legible for the first time. This was very satisfying. 11: The instructor—she is fantastic, a wonderful presence and an excellent guide.
7) How could the course have been improved?
1: I can't imagine anything more! Keep as is! 2: More readings. 3: Hard to improve; more time for both course topics and reviewing original materials. 4: No complaints! It was great. 5: I would have appreciated a standard summary of each script as it was presented: its characteristics, the spot letters, a range of dates. I think CD eventually gave us that info, but it's scattered around my notes (and therefore also my head). 7: Since there was a fairly large number of us (twelve), perhaps a few more small group exercises would have been helpful, to give us more opportunity to practice. I also might have preferred a little more time devoted to paleography itself, and a little less on broader codicological analysis, but perhaps with such a tight schedule it would have been too much. 8: More time! 9: More high-res scans and translations for each style of script. 10: It was excellent.
8) Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?
1-7: Yes. 8: Yes. It might be worth stressing that the materials are in Latin not vernacular. 9: Yes!!! And more. 10-11: Yes.
9) Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course?
1: Yes. And more! Discussions of relevant texts, bibliographies, and websites will be very helpful. 2-10: Yes. 11: Yes. I also received the necessary tools for independent self-instruction.
10) How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?
1: Cataloging manuscripts in my institution's collection and giving talks about them. 2: For work. 3: It is an aid to a more general interest in medieval studies and medieval Latin texts. 4: New skills will directly benefit my work. 5: Everything I learned will be immediately applicable to the MS identification I'm doing. 7: I teach undergraduate courses in the history of Christianity, and I hope to be able to incorporate some of the information about manuscript production into my teaching. I also plan to take subsequent courses in manuscript studies to acquire the skills to prepare critical editions of early medieval texts, but this is a long-term goal. 8: I guess I will now be primary cataloger of medieval and renaissance MSS in my company! I can now also decipher early inscriptions and marginalia. 9: To curate, appreciate, and grow my private collection. 10: I intend to read texts on panel and wall paintings, and especially in medieval Italian manuscripts, for my Ph.D. dissertation.
11) If you made any trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1: N/A. 2: The class time in SC was very well spent. It was great to hold the books. 3: Time was very well spent in the SC library. 4: N/A 7: The two trips to SC were invaluable. One or even two more would have perhaps been even better. 8: N/A. 10: N/A. 11: Yes, (these included trips to Special Collections).
12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?
1: I only attended RBS lectures—very enjoyable. I went to the closest bookseller during the day and bought as many as my budget could afford, so no Booksellers' Night. 2: Yes. 3: I attended all; all were worthwhile though the Wednesday night lecture seemed rushed and a little narrow in topic. 4: Yes. 7: I did not have the chance to attend the evening events. 8: Yes, although I'd be interested in more talk and less video. 9: Lecture: ok. Video Night: ok. Forum: didn't attend. Booksellers' Night: what you make of it. 10: N/A. 11: N/A.
13) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by the 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?
3: I am no expert and so have no suggestions. 4: None. 10: None. 11: N/A.
14) Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Would you recommend this course to others?
1: Yes! Absolutely! 2: Yes. I would highly recommend this class. 3: Yes, and yes! 4: Absolutely, yes. 5: Yes, it was worth the cost. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, and yes. 8: Absolutely to both questions. 9: I totally got my money's worth. 10: Yes. Yes.
15) Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year? (If you have further RBS praise or concerns, or if you have suggestions for a new course, please contact Amanda Nelsen [email@example.com] or Michael Suarez [firstname.lastname@example.org].)
1: Unless CD changes the course, a laptop really is not necessary. I found my iPad extremely useful for homework support (and Cappelli was online!). Reviewing Latin ahead of time was very helpful, but you don't need to be a Latin expert. CD puts everyone at ease and you'll get so much from this course! 4: The instructor should be declared an institutional treasure—take her course! 8: Consider skimming over some Latin texts before you come, to refresh your memory a little (though this is by no means essential). 10: Yes. Take this course for an introduction to Latin paleography taught in a short time and in an intense burst.
Number of respondents: 11
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 ___% of my travel
I paid my own travel
N/A: lived nearby
There were two rare book librarians (15%), one high school teacher (10%), one manuscripts cataloger (10%), one special collections volunteer worker (10%), three Ph.D. students in the humanities (25%), one assistant professor (10%), one bookseller at an auction gallery (10%), and one collector (10%).
How did you hear about this course?
Word of mouth
RBS faculty or staff recommendation
Where did you stay?
Brown College: 7 (63%)
Hampton Inn & Suites: 1 (10%)
Other: 3 (27%)