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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Eating the Book: Word and Image in the Middle Ages (HIAR10067)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course considers how changes in readership, patronage, genre and function impact the various signifiers within illuminated manuscripts. These sign-systems include the 'architecture' of the manuscript (frames and borders, layout of page openings and position within the larger environment of the total manuscript), its substance (materials), and its images, ornament and calligraphy. Emphasis is given to the manner in which these sign-systems offer multivalent and sometimes seemingly contradictory levels of meaning, glossing the content of the original text. The course explores various literary genres (Psalter, Apocalypse, Book of Hours, etc.) and their distinct sign-systems. Equally, we will discuss how different audiences and patrons might engender unique decorative programs within a single literary genre.

The course, however, does not aim to offer a chronological survey of manuscripts. As Camille wrote in his 1985 article, the 'danger of de-historicizing or denying specific contexts must be met by the advantages of asking broader, theoretical questions' (Word & Image). In terms of teaching, the risks of such an approach also include possible disorientation for students new to the field. In order to counter this, most of the thematic investigations of the course are anchored to a select group of primary manuscripts.

Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08008) OR Architectural History 2A (ARHI08002) AND Architectural History 2B (ARHI08003)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
* Learning Intent: Students should be able to conceptualize and articulate the manner in which the architecture, substance, ornament and iconography of illuminated manuscripts function together so as to communicate meaning. Equally, they should be able to delineate the manner in which different genres, audiences, patrons and numerous socio-historical factors impact the various sign-systems at work within illuminated manuscripts.
* Process and Resources: In each weekly seminar, student presentations should take a multivalent approach, focusing first on the introduction of a particular manuscript(s), describing its particular architectural features and historical background, before moving on to discuss the more general characteristics and variations within that particular literary genre. Finally, presenters should lead discussion from their particular manuscript to the more theoretical questions prompted by set required reading. Whenever possible, manuscripts have been chosen that have accessible facsimiles. Additionally the class will visit the National Library to view original manuscripts in week 11.
* Criteria for Assessment: Students will demonstrate learning through seminar discussion, presentations, essays, and exams. Student accomplishment will be assessed in terms of the breadth and depth of knowledge of particular manuscripts and manuscript genres as well as their level of engagement with the more theoretical aspects of the course.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Heather Pulliam
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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