Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts

Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts

Twelve Journeys Into the Medieval World

Book - 2017
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"This is a book about why medieval manuscripts matter. The idea for the book, which is entirely new, is to invite the reader into intimate conversations with twelve of the most famous manuscripts in existence and to explore with the author what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history -- and sometimes about the modern world too. Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with remarkable manuscripts conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Press, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781594206115
Branch Call Number: 745.6709 DEHAM
Characteristics: vii, 632 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color), facsimiles (some color) ; 24 cm


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Jan 23, 2018

I'm so glad I was able to read the library's copy of this book rather than buying it for my own, because although I learned quite a bit about illuminated manuscripts, I came away with the impression that this author is one person whom I would not enjoy hosting in my home, because he would find so much to critique. Nor is he an author whom I would care to personally compensate for his writing.
He lost no opportunity to cast aspersions on Americans - everyone from the workers at New York City's Morgan library and the interns at Getty Museum, to the (female!) American scholar who dared suggest a name for one of the scribes who worked on the Hengwrt Chaucer. Did he really have to tell his readers that "In America anyone in uniform assumes you are a felon until proven otherwise." Really? How did he convince his editor to leave comments like these in the book?
And every time he mentioned his wife, he made her sound like a rather shallow twit.

I'm neither British nor scholarly enough to know what an invigilator does (maybe the person who makes sure he wears those nasty white gloves?), nor much about heraldry. Perhaps a short glossary would have saved me from turning to a nasty digital device to find answers.

Yes, I'm being somewhat harsh in my review, but please, Mr. DE HAMEL, why did you not use space devoted to such comments to useful insights about those manuscripts?
Please note, I wrote his last name in all caps because when attempting to determine whether or not to capitalize the "D" in DE HAMEL by looking through the book itself, I discovered that in every instance, his entire name was written that way.


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