Tuesday 15 June | 18:00-19:15 | Online

David Rundle: 'The Long Reach of Palaeography'

Palaeography, simply defined, is the study of old handwriting but that definition tends to hide rather than to announce the discipline’s significance. ‘To study’ is not merely ‘to read’ and the evidentiary power of the skills palaeography teaches us are foundational in so many ways: they allow us to take a manuscript and to read out from it to the human connexions which created it and the cultures it has inhabited. This lecture will address two other fundamental issues with that definition: when does ‘old’ end? And: how does writing relate to other forms of lettering? Answering these questions can take us beyond that male-dominated minority for whom, up to the nineteenth century in much of Europe, full literacy was their preserve. The materials susceptible to palaeographical analysis are not confined to medieval codices held in special collections; palaeography is everywhere.

Dr David Rundle is Lecturer in Latin and Manuscript Studies in the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent. His research examines the role of books in late medieval and early modern culture in western Europe. He is the author of The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain: The English Quattrocento (Cambridge, 2019). 

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