M-10. Introduction to Paleography, 800–1500 - Advance Reading List

Open All
Close All
  • Preliminary Advices

    Please purchase the following books, because you will refer to them and use them for all your future work with medieval manuscripts; it isn’t necessary to bring either one to the RBS class, however. Reading them beforehand is not necessary, except for the assigned sections of The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books. If you wish, you may bring a laptop, although the short evening homework assignments will be handed out on paper; a CD with the course-pack will be distributed on the first day of class.

  • Required Readings:

    Derolez, Albert. The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books, from the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century (Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology 9). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Please read the Introduction, pp. 1–27, and “The Manuscript Book in the late Middle Ages,” pp. 28–45, before attending class.

    Cappelli, Adriano. Lexicon abbreviaturarum. Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane, 6th ed. (Milan: Hoepli, 1987; frequently reprinted). The first edition was printed in 1899, and this text, no matter which edition, is still the sine qua non.

    — If you were in Italy, you could buy a copy of Cappelli for c.€30 (c.$35); shipping costs add c.€5); if this is your plan, do it right away so that your book will arrive in time for class.
    — You can get a copy from Blackwell’s online for c.£35 to £47 (c.$55 to $75) plus shipping.
    — If you use one of the international book finding services (such as AbeBooks.com or viaLibri.net), you’ll find a range of prices and selling points (many in Europe) with prices ranging from $45–200. A second-hand copy is fine if it’s in viable physical condition.
    — You may purchase an enlarged edition of Cappelli’s text on CD from Dr. Olaf Pluta (University of Bochum, Germany) for €99 (c.$137); click here for an explanation of this online version (you can get a free 30-day trial subscription; permanent access to the database costs €99 (c.$137); note that in Pluta’s electronic edition the abbreviations are presented in a highly formalized late gothic script, which falsifies their actual appearance in manuscripts (the script in the printed Cappelli is closer to reality). Pluta now also offers a version for smartphones in a standardized Latin alphabet (a better choice!).
    — There is an online version of Cappelli available for free via the University of Cologne’s Incunable project, although it’s somewhat awkward to use.
    — Many American universities, including the University of Virginia, now offer an ebook version of this tool courtesy of the HathiTrust Digital Library; simply search in your local library’s OPAC under author/title.

    I recommend, in any case, waiting until our RBS class is over before spending money, unless you are certain that you want a printed book to work from. There is an English translation of Cappelli’s introduction, published as The Elements of Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Paleography, translated by Davin Himann and Richard Kay (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Libraries, 1982); but there is no particular need to go out of your way to acquire it unless you want it for your own library.

    John, James J. “Latin Paleography.” In Medieval Studies: An Introduction by James M. Powell. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1976: 1–68. In the small range of 68 pages, this article offers a balanced and intense outline of the full chronological range of paleography of manuscripts in the Latin alphabet; you’ll want to read it, and re-read it, and then read it again; we won’t discuss it in class, but it is the one short monograph in English that covers it all (even though, in some aspects, it has been surpassed by occasional more modern but also more specific works).

    A Latin-English dictionary, even a relatively small one.