Dr Anna Somfai (Central European University)
Full-day, from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

The course explores medieval Western philosophical and scientific manuscripts produced over the span of the 9th to 15th centuries. It considers the role manuscripts played in the creation and shaping of medieval philosophical and scientific discourse. A manuscript is both the object which transmitted ancient and medieval texts and a physical and intellectual surface which facilitated reading, writing, thinking, and the exchange of ideas. The course examines by means of digital images the layers of textual and visual interpretation produced by scribes, readers, and annotators and considers the various interpretative attitudes that developed and interacted over time. We shall look at the relevant aspects of the production of philosophical and scientific manuscripts then analyse the diverse visual forms in which texts and diagrams appear in manuscripts copied at various times and within different scholarly milieus. We ponder how reading texts in manuscript form brought, and still brings, additional dimensions to the study of philosophical and scientific texts.


Brief bibliography:

Michael Camille, 'Illustrations in Harley MS 3487 and the Perception of Aristotle's Libri Naturales in Thirteenth-Century England', in England in the Thirteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1984 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by W.M. Ormrod, Woodbridge 1985, pp. 31-44.

Murdoch, John E., Album of Science. Antiquity and the Middle Ages, New York 1984.

Sherman, Claire Richter, Imaging Aristotle. Verbal and Visual Representations in Fourteenth-Century France, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford, 1995.