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  • Monday, February 12, 2024 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion, in the Kislak Center for Special Collections on the 6th floor of the University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center

We will welcome Jessica Brantley (Yale) for a talk entitled: "Some Poor Septenaries and their Rich Relations: The Vernon Pater Noster and the Sherborne Missal."

Jessica writes:

The book of hours was the most common kind of reading material in the later Middle Ages. Children learned to read from these manuscripts, and they were the first and most familiar kinds of written objects that most people encountered in a regular way. As illustrated Latin prayerbooks, however, books of hours have been understood to occupy a cultural space quite distinct from the spaces of vernacular literature. This talk will examine one fifteenth-century book of hours, Trinity College MS B.11.18, as a site of revealing intersection between literate prayer and courtly literature. 


Jessica Brantley is Frederick W. Hilles Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Yale. Her scholarship broadly explores the cultures of medieval reading as they are preserved in manuscripts. Her first book, Reading in the Wilderness (Chicago 2007), examines the format of a late-medieval miscellany to reveal surprising connections between the private reading of meditative lyric and the public performance of civic drama. Other projects include a special issue of the Yale Journal of Criticism on translation, an edited volume reassessing English medieval alabaster sculpture, and, most recently, a handbook of literary manuscript studies, Medieval English Manuscripts and Literary Forms (Penn 2022). She is currently completing a long-term study of connections between late-medieval vernacular literature and the most popular kind of reading material in the period, the book of hours.