Month: October 2019 (page 2 of 3)

Suggested Markup Elements


My suffrage begins with a miniature, which I believe should be indicated in our digital edition. I would tag this with a combination of div and desc in the following way:

<div type=”miniature”> <desc type=”miniature”> This miniature depicts… </desc> </div>

Content Markers

I would suggest that we include content markers for each suffrage’s title and subsections. I would use an individual div to encompass each suffrage, placing its title in the <head> tag (perhaps in combination with the <title> tag) and placing its constituent parts (versiculus, responsum, etc.) in subordinate divs: <div type=”versiculus”> (or =”V”), <div type=”responsum”> (or =”R”), etc. Based on the general format of the suffrages, I believe this should not cause div nesting problems.

Decorated Initials

I would suggest, in accordance with Handout 7-2, that we use <hi rend=”…”> for this purpose, in conjunction with a <desc type=”initial”> tag to offer more detail on the decoration in question.

Rubricated Words and Initials

I would suggest that we use the <hi rend=”red”> tag here (for both single letters and full suffrage titles).

Touched Initials

My suffrage also includes a number of “touched” initials with additional strokes in colors other than that of the primary text. I believe that the tag <hi rend=”touched”>, perhaps with further color specification (e.g., <hi rend=”touched-red”>), would suit this purpose well.

Content and Linguistic Features (Jack and Susannah)


171v (seq. 350): St. Michael: miniature, antiphon (whose full rubrication begins on f. 171r), versicle, response, and oratio

172r (seq. 351): St Michael, cont.: oratio; St. John the Baptist: miniature, antiphon, versicle, and response

172v (seq 352): St. John the Baptist, cont.: response and oratio; St. Peter and St. Paul, antiphon, versicle, response, and oratio

173r: (seq. 353): St. Peter and St. Paul, cont.: miniature and oratio

173v (seq. 354):. St. Andreas/Andrew: antiphon, versicle, response, and oratio

174r (seq. 355): St. James: miniature, antiphon (whose full rubrication begins on f. 173v), versicle, response

174v: (seq. 356): St James, cont.: oratio; St. Sebastian: antiphon, versicle

175r (seq. 357): St. Sebastian, cont.: miniature, response, and oratio

175v (seq. 358): St. Sebastian, cont.: St. Dionysius: antiphon, versicle, response, and oratio;

176r (seq. 359): St. Dionysius, cont.: oratio; St. Anthony: antiphon, versicle, response

176v (seq. 360): St. Anthony, cont.: miniature, oratio

177r: (seq. 361): St. Nicholas: antiphon, versicle, response, and oratio; St. Mary Magdalene: antiphon; versicle

177v: (seq. 362): St. Mary Magdalene, cont.: miniature, versicle, response, and oratio

178r: (seq. 363): St. Mary Magdalene, cont.: oratio; St. Katherine: antiphon, versicule, and oratio.

178v: (seq. 364): St. Genoveva: antiphon, versicule, and oratio, all indicated with rubrication.


Linguistic Features:

Collapse of the ae diphthong is consistent throughout. Aspiration is occasionally added (as at h[er]emo, 172r), and ci is used somewhat frequently in place of ti (as at propicius, 172r, and tercio, 173r). Especially in proper names, y is often used where i might be expected (as is the case with hyspanie at 174r and moysi and synai at 178r). The ablative plural hiis appears with ii representing the long vowel, and there is some variation in use of u and v (e.g., viam at 172r and uiam at 172v). Syncopation of the second person perfect active indicative is frequent (confirmasti at 175r, roborasti at 176r). Nomina sacra are used with some regularity.

Script and Hand

Script and Hand (Lydia and Gayle):

This section of the manuscript appears to be written and rubricated by a single scribe. The script is a fine and regular formal gothic. Most majuscules contain extra flourishes/pen strokes; most (but not all) of these majuscules are lightly touched or highlighted with a diluted yellow ink. Highlighted majuscules tend to appear following punctuation. The script features two variants of and two variants of sRs sometimes have a unique descending flourish.

Decoration and overview of damage (Krisztina and Miriam)

The manuscript is decorated with seven larger scale figural and twenty-four smaller non-figural initials. The borders and in the case of the pages with figural initials also the bas-de-page are decorated with vines and vegetal motifs. The illuminations are attributed to the so-called Maître François, active between 1462 and 1480. The materials are tempera and gold on parchment. Some damage on the upper corners can be observed, which is most visible on pages with decorated upper borders. Touch marks can be noted especially on ff. 171v, 172r, 176v. 

The figural illuminations are: St Michael (171v), John the Baptist (172r), Peter and Paul (173r), St James (not specified, but it is the Greater given his iconography) (174r), Martyrdom of St Sebastian (175v), St Anthony (176v), Mary Magdalene (177v).

General Layout and Bibliography (Group D: James and Emily)

General layout: The central text is 15 lines tall, with 3/4 decorated borders when there are miniatures on the page (each 8 lines tall), otherwise 1/4 border along the vertical outer margin spanning the height of the central text. Decorated initials are 2 lines tall.  Thicker bottom margins, thinner top margins. Text starts below the top line, and bounded on all sides and interlinearly by rubricated lines.

  •  Bibliography:
    • Bond and Faye, 237; Roger S. Wieck, “French Illuminated Manuscripts in the Houghton Library: Recent Discoveries and Attributions,” Harvard Library Bulletin 31 (1983) 192 and fig. 6) reproducing f. 75); Wieck, pp. 30-31, no. 14 (reproducing f. 79).
    • Laura Light, “Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Volume 1: MSS Lat 3-179, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies. Tempe, Arizona, 1997. pp. 224-229.

Catalogue: Origin and Provenance (Kathryn and Simona)


<origPlace> France, likely Paris </origPlace>

<origDate> during <origDate notBefore=“1450″ notAfter=“1475″> the mid-fourteenth century</origDate>

<illuminator> <name type=“person”> Maitre Francois </name> </illuminator>


<provenance> ex libris mark from <name type=“person”> Ysabel de bellrisseau </name>  <date notBefore=“1450” notAfter=“1700”> </date>

Owned by <name type=“person”> Arthur H. Lea </name> until <date> 1983 </date>


<acquisition> donated to Houghton Library by <name type=“person”> Caroline T. Lea </name> on <date> June 20, 1983 </date> </acquisition>

Cataloging-Group C

Measurements: 164 x 120 (85-83 x 60-65) mm.  Pages with miniatures include horizontal illuminated borders in addition to the one vertical illuminated border on pages without miniatures.

Pricking and Ruling: Ruled in light red ink. Lines and illuminations contained within their own horizontal and vertical boundary lines.  Outermost boundaries are thicker. Horizontal, and occasionally vertical, boundaries extend to the edge of the folio.  Text often extends beyond right vertical boundary; boundary respected on the left.  Rulings run visibly beneath miniatures.  No visible pricking.

Writing Support: Parchment, neatly trimmed; miniatures on thicker parchment.

Pre-Workshop Reflection – Burnard, Gailey, and the DCC

Burnard’s description of the three ‘broad classes’ (compositional features, contextual features, and interpretive features) of information that should be included in text markup is sound. It seems remarkably prescient when, writing over twenty years ago, Burnard suggested that all digital markup information could be included within a ‘single encoding scheme’; this vision seems to have been borne out in the attempts to standardize digital markups using a common syntax (XML) and syntax guidelines from TEI, as described by Gailey. However, Gailey’s criticism of the available tools (e.g. the difficulty in annotating meaningful omissions and visual humor, and the difficulty encoding commentary in overlapping passages of text) is important in reminding us that the system is still imperfect and may call for some ‘creative’ problem-solving.


In addition to the digital encoding projects mentioned by Gailey, the Dickinson College Commentaries provide an interesting example of the benefits and difficulties of digital markups. For example, information about certain contextual features are lacking – we don’t have images of the manuscripts from which the critical edition has been developed, so we miss a lot of visual information (areas where a second hand has corrected mistakes, potential damage to the manuscript rendering the text unreadable, etc.). It is, however, an incredibly convenient resource for those who need an free, accessible text with commentary and vocabulary aid. The ‘About DCC’ page ( engages with some of the issues brought up in Gailey – see especially the ‘Philosophy and Approach’ section for advantages and disadvantages to digital encoding.

Pre-Workshop Reflection

In “Visualizing the Archive,” Whitley notes that “While digital visualization tools are poised to deal with a similar set of issues as those faced by our colleagues in the sciences and social sciences, some of the assumptions about reading expressed in the scholarship on information visualization tend not to sit well with scholars and teachers of literature” (192). Whitley observes that such a disparity arises from the differing natures of the documents that are the traditional objects of study in their respective fields. The gap is of course very marked across the scientific-literary divide, but I wonder about the differing sets of assumptions and challenges that exist across different literary subfields. The projects presented in the excerpts from “The American Literary Scholar in the Digital Age” that we read chiefly (and naturally) focus on American documents from the 19th and 20th centuries. While Burnard does briefly discuss the challenges of treating a text such as Beowulf, I would love to learn more extensively about how the use of the same digital technology is translated across the study of, say, a medieval manuscript fragment and Herman Melville’s draft of Typee.  In “A Case for Heavy Editing,” Gailey mentions TEI’s “recommended vocabulary for the treatment of humanities texts” (131)–I wonder how this standardization (or the process thereof) accounts for the different sorts of document format, circulation, authorship, and readership that occur across the humanities.

The central tension in Gailey’s article between close reading as a traditional scholarly practice and ‘searching’ as a new, oddly detached one was an informative one. I was especially struck by how Joel Chandler Harris’ work required coding in both an original and regularized form to avoid the possibility that it would simply be erased if one was searching for regular spellings of words. I found it equally fascinating that, as far as I can see, no suggestion was made for how the assumption of the phrase “naked as a jaybird” in the illustration made by E.W. Kemble could be anything other than erased by an approach that only searches through textual information rather than paying attention to the text’s material context.

In the case of Burnard, I was fascinated by the fact that he emphasized the inescapability of canonicity. I did wonder whether the same pressures necessarily applied to the modern interest in the construction of canons as to its earlier iterations. After all, the importance of the canon in earlier cultures was as a standard against which one could model one’s own work or as the essential knowledge required for membership of the elite; in the modern sense it often seems to be born out of a sense that there is endless amounts of material that needs to be organized into the most representative of a certain genre or the highest aesthetic quality so people do not waste their time consuming products that are sub-standard or eccentric.

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