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“Reading” Medieval Art at Penn

ENGL 100.301
instructor(s):

Did you ever want to hold a priceless 600-year old book in your hands and leaf through its pages? Here’s your chance. In this seminar focusing on one of Penn’s most treasured illuminated manuscripts, a private 15th-century prayerbook, we will become “medieval” readers as we read its texts and images. Yet what does it mean to “read” a medieval image? How can we interpret the images through the text, and vice versa? To answer these questions, we will put ourselves in the position of medieval readers as we try, just as they did, to decipher the meaning of the manuscript’s messages. The course will include a basic introduction to illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, and will include short writing assignments about Penn's manuscript. Some class sessions will be spent looking at priceless manuscripts in other Philadelphia collections (the Museum of Art, the Free Library) that are normally inaccessible to the public.
FULFILLS Sector III Requirement