4 October: Lieftinck Lecture by dr. Kathryn Rudy
This lecture introduces this new technique, densitometry, to measure a reader’s response to various texts in a prayer book.
Title: Dirty Books: Quantifying Patterns of Use in Medieval Manuscripts Using a Densitometer.
When: 4 October 3-4 h
Where: University Library
Early users of medieval books of hours and prayer books left signs of their reading in the form of fingerprints in the margins. The darkness of their fingerprints correlates to the intensity of their use and handling. A densitometer — a machine measuring the darkness of a reflecting surface — can reveal which texts a reader favored. This lecture introduces this new technique, densitometry, to measure a reader’s response to various texts in a prayer book. Tracking what medieval book users handled with their grubby hands shows us what they read and cared about. Lectures are free and open to all. This lecture is accompanied by a display of medieval manuscripts.
Kathryn M. Rudy is lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews. She has written extensively about the ways in which medieval users handled their manuscripts. Her forthcoming books are provisionally titled Touching Skin: How Medieval Users Rubbed, Kissed, Inscribed, Dunked, Begrimed, and Pricked their Manuscripts; and The Postcard, the Pallium, the Amulet, and the Altar: the Flexible Autonomous Image in the Late Middle Ages, to be published by Yale University Press.
Lectures are free and open to all. Please rsvp to Erik Kwakkel.
The Lieftinck Lectures run four times a year and are devoted to medieval book culture. The series is organized by the Vidi-project ‘Turning Over a New Leaf’ (Dr. Erik Kwakkel, Leiden) in collaboration with the Scaliger Institute and Special Collections (Leiden University Library).