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Material Texts: Brigitte M. Bedos-Rezak (History, NYU): “Printed Matter in the Pre-Modern West (7th-13th century)”
Monday, November 28, 2016 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion
Sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Dear friends and colleagues, Please join us Monday, November 28th, for the next meeting of the Workshop in the History of Material Texts.

We will convene at our usual time and place:5:15pmin the Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center on the 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. We will be welcoming Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak (History, NYU) for a talk entitled “Printed Matter in the Pre-Modern West (8th-13th centuries)”

Brigitte writes:

The printing revolution of the fifteenth century has informed interpretations of the large quantity of printed material that circulated in medieval Europe teleologically. With a focus on documentary authentication and sealing practices in Western Europe between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries, I propose to re-examine the usual conflation of printing and book by considering printing as a technology that marked many types of material supports, producing and reproducing diverse artifacts, many of which were central to medieval lives. I will argue that it was a process of manufacture, the act of imprinting, that imbued printed matter, sealed charters in particular, with their particular potency during the Middle Ages. The argument will be supported by attention to three distinct aspects of seal agency: the conception of the imprinted image as an achiropoietic object; the inherent properties of printed material and the metaphors thereby generated sublimating representation as presence; and the imprint, understood as a natural sign, which complicated the philosophical field of natural magic.

Brigitte Bedos-Rezakis Professor of History at New York University (NYU) and affiliate Professor at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. She is currently at work on a monograph devoted toPrinted Matter in the Middle Ages, and on a special issue of issue of the journal,The Medieval Globe, devoted toSeals: Imprinting Matter, Exchanging Impressions.