August 2017

August was busy at the Arnamagnæan Collection because of the Summer School in Manuscript Studies. Although I was only assisting in some of the workshop and held no lectures myself, it still affected Invisibilia in several ways.

Manuscript work

I hadn’t been working on the transcriptions for all July and the first two weeks of August, mostly because I couldn’t settle into a good routine as a result from many sick days and some random days off to spend with my daughter. The final touches to invisibilia.dk had been more time-consuming than previously thought, and when you are writing blogposts, you obviously can’t transcribe simultaneously. Even worse, I found that the two fols. in AM 732 b 4to, that I hadn’t completed yet, were sort of keeping me from going on. I had originally put them off because I only had inscriptions in figures left. These are time-consuming because of the markup and because they are sometimes too small or to cramped. In retrospect, I really don’t know why I hadn’t done that earlier, as it only took me two afternoons to have everything in XML. Once AM 732 b 4to was complete, the list also felt much shorter. I then quickly completed AM 431 12mo and AM 428 a 12mo, two rather late manuscripts that are really exciting for their Latin parts. I will study them further during September and come back with a blogpost on one of them eventually.

Book idea

During the Arnamagnæan Summer School, I was a helping teacher at several workshops. My job was it to sit with a single manuscript while the participants were examining it – basically to help them if they had questions, and to make sure the manuscript was alright. I was surprised that although the participants had had training before (especially on advanced level) and had been listening to a number of lectures on codicology and paleography, the way they approached the manuscripts varied a lot from person to person, and some struggled to find a good routine. I therefore got the idea that one should have a workshop and/or lecture that teaches students how to actually work with manuscripts. Out of this developed the idea to actually write a book, which addresses questions of how to prepare for the reading room, what to expect, and how to make most of the time available with the manuscript. The book will be rather colloquial and based on personal experience, but it will also contain reliable up-to-date information and plans to work from. I entitled it “BOOK 2” in my personal notes and have now started to write about 1,000 words per day. When this post goes online, I will have written 12,000 words of what I hope will be around 50,000 in the end.

Conclusion

August was an okay month. Not so much for the progress of the actual project – although I am not really behind schedule, I don’t feel there have been enough tangible results. However, I have the homepage up and running, settled down with a routine to write these blogposts and got back on track with the transcriptions. I also submitted two abstracts, one for the International Medieval Congress at Leeds 2018 and the other for Care and Conservation 17. What was really good about this month was to experience how the participants of the Summer School enjoyed working with manuscripts, and how that was made possible by the team effort of the teachers. And finally, I simply love to have a new book idea to work on. And who knows, with a lower everyday goal I might even be able to slowly but surely finish my book on Office Lectionaries…