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Arthur Bahr Lecture
WhenWednesday, Feb 12, 2020, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsTextual Studies Program

Lecture by Arthur Bahr (MIT)

Abstract: “The Pearl-Manuscript as Kaleidoscope”

The Latin word for mirror, speculum, is so central to medieval textual culture that in 1926 it was adopted as the name of the official journal of the Medieval Academy of America, still widely considered the most prestigious in medieval studies. Medieval studies, in turn, has often described manuscripts as mirrors: the physical records of that textual culture and thus a reflection an otherwise inaccessible past. This metaphor has been usefully complicated in recent decades, and I wish to propose a different one: the kaleidoscope. Using the so-called Pearl manuscript (British Library Cotton Nero A.x) as my case study, I will argue that the kaleidoscope offers a more fragmentary, shifting, and interactive mode of engaging with our shared objects of study and delight.

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