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Age of Innovation: The Manuscript Book in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance

Miræus lectures, Wednesday 3 November 2010
Erik Kwakkel (Universiteit Leiden)


This lecture focuses on the new book format that emerged during the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, an age in which European culture went through some dramatic changes. The “pregothic” manuscript that emerged between 1100 and 1200 included many innovative features, such as new scripts, page layouts and reading aids. This lecture aims to connect these innovations to changes in intellectual culture and shows how the new book features changed the reading experience of medieval individuals: they facilitated better comprehension and speedier access of information.


Erik Kwakkel teaches at the Universiteit Leiden, and is coordinator and principal investigator in the NWO-funded research project "Turning over a New Leaf: Manuscript Innovation in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance" (2010-15). He taught medieval history in Canada (2003-10) and has published broadly on medieval books and book culture.