The Medieval Book

open medieval book
  •  Date: June 10-21, 2019
  •  Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  •  Location:

    Waldo Library
    Western Michigan University
    1903 W Michigan Ave
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Course overview

single page of a medieval book
  • An intensive 2-week exploration of the medieval book.
  • Sponsored by University Libraries and the Medieval Institute.
  • Offered through WMU Extended University Programs.
  • Available as a professional or personal development opportunity for no credit.
  • Available, with a writing requirement, as a course for graduate credit (2 credit hours).
  • No prerequisites.
  • Graduate students taking the course for credit who are members of the Medieval Academy of America are eligible to apply for a Medieval Academy/Cara Summer Scholarship.

Learning outcomes

  • Students become familiar with the materials and techniques of book production in the Middle Ages.
  • Students become familiar with aspects of the social history of the book in the Middle Ages.
  • Students develop rudimentary skills in transcribing texts from medieval sources.

Course description

This course is a two-week immersion into the study of the medieval manuscript, with a focus on the material qualities of the books and other handwritten materials of the period, and with attention paid also to their characteristic texts and contexts. It draws on twenty-one manuscripts on loan to WMU by Les Enluminures through its “Manuscripts in the Curriculum” program, as well as the manuscript holdings of WMU Libraries. Class meetings are 9 to 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. The afternoons feature a variety of required activities, including the completion of exercises involving original objects, hands-on workshops in papermaking and bookbinding, preparation for oral reports to be given on the last day of class, and consultations with the instructor.

How to apply

Fill out the application form.

The course will enroll a maximum of 15 students by competitive application, with prospective students submitting a résumé and a page-long statement describing the student’s motivation in pursuing the course, as well as any prior study of the topic.

Important dates

  • Course dates and times: June 10-21, 2019, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Application for early admission deadline: Jan.6, 2019 (with notification by Feb.1).
  • Final admission deadline: May 1, 2019.
  • Les Enluminures manuscripts will be on display during the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies at WMU May 9-12, 2019

Course daily schedule

open medieval book
  • Day 1: Materials and techniques
  • Day 2: Signs of production
  • Day 3: Script and scribes
  • Day 4: Illumination and wayfinding
  • Day 5: Date, place of origin, and provenance
  • Day 6: Describing manuscripts and reading catalog entries
  • Day 7: Texts and contexts: monastic
  • Day 8: Texts and contexts: liturgical
  • Day 9: Texts and contexts: secular
  • Day 10: Final reflections and student reports

About the instructor

Elizabeth C. Teviotdale is the Assistant Director of WMU’s Medieval Institute. She has been teaching codicology and Latin paleography for more than fifteen years, repeatedly at WMU, and occasionally at the Newberry Library (Chicago) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research field is early medieval Christian liturgical manuscripts.