Research

My research focuses on late medieval reading, writing and meditational practices that are enacted through a praxis involving a material text. I argue that all three of these activities are actually different performances of the same activity: inscription. 

 

Inscription is the process by which legible bodies are given (textual) meaning; minds are inscribed with res through reading, souls are inscribed with the likeness of god through meditation, and the manuscript is inscribed with the textual record of this interaction in writing.  All three of these processes produce a material work--an individual, contingent, embodiement produced through labor.  The work itself, both the labor and the product of it, is inherently sacramental.  It makes the invisible visible through sanctification and special grace (Hugh of Saint Victor, De Sacramentis). 

 

While this argument might be able to be broadly applied to medieval book making altogether, especially during the period in which production was almost exclusively monastic, The scope of my book project is just a single corpus that is self-consciously devotional or contemplative in itsinscription and that has a rich and problematic manuscript testimony. You can see more of my work on Piers Plowman by clicking the button to the right.

 

On a larger scale, this same kind of approach to Corpus Studies of medieval networks of text dissemination is behind a digital database project. This project aims to make connections between collocated texts accessible and searchable from an online database of Medieval English Vernacular Manuscript Networks.

Lasers and Algorithms and Manuscripts,

Oh MY!