AB - Bibliographies and Catalogs
Die illuminierten Handschriften und Inkunabeln der Universitätsbibliothek Graz: Die illuminierten Handschriften 1400 bis 1500 [The Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula of the University Library in Graz: The Illuminated Manuscripts from 1400 to 1500]. Christine Beier. 2 vols. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2011. xxiv, 397, ; xxii, , 49 p. ill. 31 cm. (Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen des Mittelalters: Reihe V, Illuminierten Handschriften und Inkunabeln in Österreich ausserhalb der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, 1; Denkschriften / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, 390). ISBN 978-3-7001-6045-8: EUR 145.20 [12-2]
The work reviewed here is in two physical parts—the first contains text, the second has plates and indexes—and is the first in a new series devoted to catalogs of major Austrian manuscript collections that reside outside the Austrian National Library. Manuscript catalogs such as this one have a long tradition within German-speaking Europe and normally follow the guidelines set out by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [German Research Council], which prescribe organizing manuscript descriptions in chronologically ascending order, i.e. beginning with the oldest manuscripts first. In this case, however, the University Library in Graz has decided to begin by cataloging manuscripts from the final decades of the Middle Ages.
This volume contains descriptions of 122 manuscripts, of which 54 are dated or dateable. The manuscripts were generally acquired by the University Library or its predecessor institutions in the course of the secularization of monasteries in the late 18th or early 19th centuries.
Aside from the decision to catalog the more recent manuscripts first, the manuscript descriptions conform to the usual guidelines. The actual content of the manuscript is described with great brevity, with far more attention being paid to the codicological details, including its binding and provenance. Illuminations are described in full detail and are assigned to a particular style and context. There is much to be gleaned from these meticulous descriptions in terms of a greater understanding of local traditions. These descriptions are especially valuable in that manuscript illumination from the last decade of the Middle Ages has so far received less attention than it deserves. The analysis of the common practice of fleuronée ornamentation is particularly helpful. There are excellent introductory essays on the scriptoria and library collections of individual monasteries, such as Neuberg. Incunabula containing illuminations deriving from the manuscript tradition also receive valuable consideration. Most of the manuscripts described here were produced in the southeastern quadrant of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly between Augsburg and Vienna, but there are also manuscripts that hail from farther away, for example from Utrecht, Danzig, and Bologna.
The volume of plates, containing 812 color illustrations, deserves high praise for its excellent production. The work is finished off with bibliographies and indexes. It is to be hoped that future volumes in this series maintain the high quality of this one. [ch/crc]
Lexicon abbreviaturarum: dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane usate nelle carte e codici [Lexicon of Abbreviations: A Dictionary of the Latin and Italian Abbreviations Used in Documents and Manuscripts]. Adriano Cappelli. 7th expanded and updated ed. by Mario Geymonat and Fabio Troncarelli. Milano: Ulrico Hoepli, 2011. lxxvii, 657 p. ill. 18 cm. ISBN 978-88-203-4546-4: EUR 29
An RREA Original Review by Thomas M. Izbicki (Rutgers University)
For decades one version or another of Adriano Cappelli’s Lexicon abbreviaturarum has well served scholars using medieval manuscripts and documents. The dictionary also has been useful to scholars consulting early printed Latin books, when printers followed or imitated conventions used in manuscript books, as well as to rare-books librarians and catalogers of rare books. This reviewer’s copy of the sixth edition, from 1967, has accompanied him on research trips and otherwise lived near his desk. This seventh edition is a welcome addition to our tools for medieval studies. It is in part a photographic reprint of the sixth edition; the editors have added, however, both updates to that edition and new material. The new material is particularly useful to numismatists. Efforts have been made to unscramble these abbreviations using a computer, but these digital initiatives have yet to displace Cappelli’s Lexicon.
The book begins with detailed front matter. First comes Cappelli’s preface to the 1929 edition, followed by a note by Geymonat and Troncarelli explaining how they updated the volume. Next follows a brief “Avvertenza” [Caution] explaining certain features of the dictionary, including how words beginning with abbreviations are listed, and then comes an extensive explanation of brachigrafia medievale [medieval shorthand]. This section is divided by category into abbreviation by truncation and by contraction, special signs with their own significance, others that vary by context, superscript letters used in abbreviations, non-alphabetical “conventional signs,” and numbers, with both Roman and Arabic numerals. The editors have added a section on epigraphical conventions with a few bibliographical references, as well as another about abbreviations appearing on coins, including four illustrations of the obverse and reverse of Roman coins. Transcriptions of the plates and the plates themselves come next in sequence.
The heart of the volume remains Cappelli’s extensive dictionary of abbreviations. It is arranged alphabetically. As is typical of medieval Latin, I and J are not separated, nor are U and V. Abbreviations for con, com, and cum and words beginning with those prefixes follow C. Those abbreviations that begin with other “conventional signs” or signs for numbers follow Z. The editors have added new material following the signs for Arabic numerals. The new section begins with a brief explanatory note accompanied by a short bibliography. Then come newly added abbreviations, mostly from manuscript sources, in alphabetical order. Cappelli provided an alphabetical list of epigraphical signs and abbreviations, such as AED. CER. for Aedilis Cerialis (the title of a Roman magistrate). Additions to this section are identified by asterisks in the margins; a new list follows that groups together all the additions by Geymonat and Troncarelli, with each addition keyed to the page number of the relevant asterisk. A new section on abbreviations used on ancient coins and medals, with an alphabetical table of these signs, has been inserted before Cappelli’s bibliography, which is the last part of the book.
I manoscritti della letteratura italiana delle origini [The Manuscripts of Italian Literature from its Origins]. Ed. Sandro Bertelli. Tavarnuzze-Impruneta: SISMEL, Edizioni del Galluzzo. 30 cm. (Biblioteche e archivi, ...).
Firenze, Biblioteca medicea laurenziana [Florence, the Medicean Laurentian Library]. 2011. viii, 225, clxxvi p. ill. 30 cm. (Biblioteche e archivi, 22). ISBN 9788884503879: EUR 134
An RREA Original Review by Thomas M. Izbicki (Rutgers University)
In 2002, SISMEL (the Societa` internazionale per lo studio del Medioevo latino [International Society for the Study of the Latin Middle Ages]) published I manoscritti della letteratura italiana delle origini. Firenze, Biblioteca nazionale centrale [The Manuscripts of Italian Literature from its Origins. Florence, the Central National Library], edited by Sandro Bertelli, listing the earliest manuscripts of Italian literature in that repository. (The chronological limit of this project is about the middle of the 14th century; manuscripts dated later than 1360 are excluded.) Ten years later, Bertelli has published a similar title for the Biblioteca medicea laurenziana, another of the great libraries of Florence.
Following a foreword by the head of the library’s manuscript section, Bertelli provides the “Prologomena,” which open out into a discussion of the codicology or physical features of the manuscripts, giving the definitions of terms employed with explanations of the abbreviations used to represent those details. These abbreviations are used in extensive tables noting the characteristics of the individual codices. Other tables illustrate the holdings of the Library by date, point of origin, type of text, script, and codicological details of the entire collection. Further discussion of these features concludes this section.
The main catalog follows. It opens with a guide to the descriptions, featuring the order of each fondo [section] of the Library, signature or shelf mark, date, content, writing material, number of leaves and system of numeration, structure of the manuscript gatherings, format, writing space, lining used to format the writing surface, script, decoration, binding, physical condition, dating, history of the manuscript, other notes for the better understanding of the manuscript, bibliography, and a list of photographs, as well as an explanation of how composite manuscripts are described.
The catalog is ordered by signature under each individual fondo. Following the Fondo principale [Principal Collection] and Fondo acquisiti e doni [Acquisitions and Gifts] come the following collections: Ashburnham, Certosa [Charterhouse] of Calci, Edili, Gaddi, Martelli, Redi, Strozzi, and Tempi. Most fondi have several manuscripts, but the Fondo Tempi has only one listed. Two appendices—of manuscripts of doubtful date and those eliminated from the project although listed in inventories as 14th century in date—a bibliography, and indexes follow. There is a thoroughly executed set of four indexes: of manuscript mentioned (whether in Florence or not); provenance; authors, works, and initia [opening words]; and chronology (1290 to 1356, by date or, when the exact date is uncertain, by time period).
The illustration section follows the indexes, itself beginning with an index. Colored plates are listed as A through S; the black-and-white plates are numbered I through CLXXVI. The color plates are handsomely produced, and the black-and-white pages can usually be read easily. The exceptions occur where a leaf has suffered damage. Poetry and prose are represented. Some manuscripts were decorated with illuminated initials or letters drawn in colored ink. A few have full-scale illuminations, decorated borders, or drawings for pictures never executed. Scripts range from cursives to the most formal book hands. One colored plate (S = Strozzi 184) shows an elaborately decorated binding. Noted authors such as Dante are represented in the catalog, but so are less well-known figures (e.g., Caccia da Castello) and anonymous writers. All receive full treatment in a handsome manner in this catalog.
The Firenze, Biblioteca medicea laurenziana volume of I manoscritti della letteratura italiana delle origini will be extremely useful for students of medieval Italian literature pursuing their research beyond the edited texts in library collections.
Medieval Manuscript Production in the Latin West: Explorations with a Global Database. Eltjo Buringh. Leiden: Brill, 2011. xxiii, , 567 p. ill. 25 cm. (Global Economic History Series, 6). ISBN 978-90-04-17519-8: EUR 129 [11-3]
What can we really know about actual levels of manuscript production in the Middle Ages, since what has survived to our day represents only fragmentary portions of that production? This question has bedeviled scholars in the field for decades. Through the use of sophisticated statistical analysis Eltjo Buringh reaches some scientifically well-founded conclusions about the true extent of medieval manuscript production.
Buringh provides a clear structure to his book by giving summaries of his arguments at appropriate points among its various chapters. He formulates his basic questions as to the survival rates of manuscripts, their rates of loss and their rates of production and then presents the data set to which he applies his statistical methods. He sets his results into relationship with four historically significant periods of manuscript production: “Early Christian equilibrium” (6th to 7th centuries); “Early medieval stability” (9th to 10th centuries); “From uniformity to differentiation” (12th to 13th centuries); and “Fragmentation of uses” (14th to 15th centuries). For the compilation of his data set, Buringh postulates a representative library consisting of some 2,100 titles. For each title, he describes a set of manuscripts whose exact provenance and date are known. The reader may be inclined to skepticism, since this data set appears to have too narrow a base to allow for the kinds of extrapolations that Buringh makes, but he is well aware of the possible shortcomings of his methodology and uses a number of comparative studies to convince the reader that his method really can lead to worthwhile insights and perspectives about Medieval manuscript production.
Buringh’s statistical methods are unusual, and it takes a special effort to work one’s way through the long rows of numbers, but in the end it does appear that his methods lead to new perspectives that rest on a solid statistical foundation. His efforts may well enable scholars in the field to reach better-informed conclusions about the economic, social, and cultural significance of manuscript production in the Latin West. [jg/crc]
Incunabula Gottingensia: Inkunabelkatalog der Niedersächsischen Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen [Incunabula Gottingensia: Catalog of Incunabula in the Lower Saxony State and University Library in Göttingen]. Ed. Elmar Mittler. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 25 cm.
Vol. 3. Abteilung Linguistica bis Patres [Fascicle Linguistics to Patristics]. Helmut Kind and Jochen Bornmüller. 2011. 512 p. ill. ISBN 978-3-447-06603-7: EUR 128 [12-2]
The first two volumes of this publication were issued in 1997 (see RREA 3:34) and 2006 (see RREA 12:4), respectively. The Göttingen collection contains approximately 3,100 incunabula; publication of this third volume brings to 2,652 the number of those manuscripts that have received full descriptions. Volume 3 contains 1,112 descriptions and is thus significantly larger than its two predecessors.
The structure of this catalog mirrors the peculiarities of the collection’s organization, which is founded on an alphabetical list of categories laid out in the 18th century. There are bound to be some anomalies that modern scholars find odd, not to say irritating, such as the inclusion of late medieval theologians among the Latin Fathers of the Church. While it is understandable that the editors of this volume remained true to the editorial principles established for the initial volumes, the consequence is a deficit in user-friendliness that is not completely addressed by the work’s indexes.
This volume of the catalog is devoted mainly to Church Fathers (897 entries), medical works (100 entries), and linguistic works (113 entries). Subdivisions of these groups are found only when such subdividing was part of the original 18th-century classification scheme. The medical works are subdivided into nine smaller categories, whereas the works of the Church Fathers are subdivided only into Greek Fathers and Latin Fathers. Within the category of linguistic works there are no subdivisions at all. Thus locating a specific edition is not always an easy task.
The catalog descriptions themselves attain and sometimes surpass the high level of quality found in volumes one and two. Within each category or sub-category, the compilers have chosen to list works alphabetically by author (or by title in the case of anonymous works), rather than retaining the shelf mark order of the collection, which in turn reflected the original 18th-century systematic classification. This can make it difficult to discern which works are actually to be found in bound-together volumes.
Provenance notes are transcribed exactly as found in the source, although thankfully the many abbreviations found in such notes are expanded to their spelled out forms, with the expansions being identified by the use of italic type. A full index of all provenance indications is promised for the concluding volume of the catalog, so scholars interested in questions of provenance will need to wait for that volume in order to conduct detailed investigations.
Bindings are sometimes identified with reference to related images in the online database of images of bindings known as the Einbanddatenbank or EBDB. Unfortunately, such identifications are not made in every case, which must be seen as a failure to make full use of this very promising research tool. However, the compilers clearly worked hard to identify binders and provide references to standard reference sources covering these binders’ ateliers.
In view of the catalog’s adherence to the 18th-century classification scheme, indexes and concordances play an important role in providing access to the descriptions. The indexes of volume three are not cumulative, i.e., they do not contain references to volumes one and two but index only the descriptions contained in volume three. It would have been more helpful to give the actual titles of works in connection with the authors’ names listed in the author index. Indexes of printers and publishers are provided, as well as a very helpful concordance to such standard bibliographies of incunabula as the Gesamtverzeichnis der Wiegendrucke (GW), Hain, Copinger, Reichling, and Goff. Unfortunately a subject index is lacking.
The occasional criticisms expressed here should not detract from a recognition of the overall high quality of the publication and the excellent work done by its compilers, who have devoted years of their lives to this catalog and now even in retirement continue to devote their time and their formidable expertise towards its eventual completion. Fascicle 4 (Philosophia and Poetae, plus a combined index and concordance) will appear in 2012. [jg/crc]
Rätoromanische Bibliographie, 1729-2010 = Bibliografia retoromanza, 1729- 2010 [Raeto-Romance Bibliography, 1729-2010]. Ed. Paul Videsott. Bozen/ Bolzano: Bozen-Bolzano University Press, 2011. 520 p. 23 cm. (Scripta Ladina Brixinensia, 2). ISBN 9788860460455: EUR 25
An RREA Original Review by David Bade (University of Chicago)
Raeto-Romance, which takes its name from the former Roman province of Rhaetia, was formerly spoken over an area covering eastern and central Switzerland, southern Bavaria, the western tip of Austria (Vorarlberg), much of Tirol, portions of Lombardy, and western Slovenia. Today, Raeto-Romance—which Paul Videsott treats as a single language consisting of multiple dialects—is spoken mainly in the province of Graubünden in Switzerland and in the Dolomite and Friuli regions in northeastern Italy. In the standard literary form called Rumantsch Grischun, it is one of the four national languages of Switzerland.
Building on his own earlier work and the work of predecessors and collaborators, Videsott has produced the first truly comprehensive bibliography of the entire range of Raeto- Romance linguistics. Earlier bibliographies have focused on particular Raeto-Romance dialects or time periods or have not included the more inaccessible academic writings such as theses and dissertations. The scope of the present volume accepts none of these limitations. Videsott has focused on what he considers to be scientific publications on linguistics, but he has also included materials of a popular nature that he judged to be of interest to scholars, as well as “grey literature,” though not manuscripts. He has included material on all periods and dialects—Friulian, Dolomitic, and Ladino as well as Rumantsch Grischun and other Swiss dialects. Unlike the Lia rumantscha’s [Rumantsch League’s] Bibliografia retorumantscha (1552-1984) [Raeto-Romance Bibliography (1552-1984)] (Cuira, 1986), which included not just linguistic studies but all printed works and manuscripts in Rumantsch Grischun, Videsott has limited his scope to linguistics.
This bibliography’s general thoroughness is reflected in its 4999 citations. It covers everything from Ludwig Steub’s essay on the ancient peoples of the Rhaetian region and their language Über die Urbewhohner Rätiens und ihren Zusammenhang mit den Etruskern [On the Original People of Rhaetia and Their Relation to the Etruscans] (München, 1843) to Krzysztof Bogacki’s Vocabulari sursilvan-polones e polones-sursilvan [Sursilvan-Polish and Polish-Sursilvan Vocabulary] (Warszawa, 1992). Rather surprisingly, though, the section on the influence of Raeto-Romance on other languages, including Slavic languages, does not contain any Slavic-language publications—even though Slavic citations appear in other sections. For example, it omits Fran Šturm’s article “Refleksi romanskih palataliziranih konzonantov v slovenskih izposojenkah” [Romance Consonantal Palatalization Reflexes in Slovenian Borrowings] (Casopis za slovenski jezik, književnost in zgodovino 6 (1927): 45-85). Han Steenwijk’s “The Nominal Declension of Friulian Loans in the Slovene Dialect of Val Resia” (Slovene Studies 12, no. 1 (1990): 23-31) is also not found.
In addition to the bibliography itself, the book includes an introduction in German and Italian as well as indexes of authors, authors as subjects, places, and dialects.
No online resource currently known to this reviewer provides the researcher with anything approaching the range of material covered in Videsott’s bibliography. Furthermore, the arrangement of the volume—its fine, detailed organization and indexes—makes it very easy to use, even when the reader does not have an exact citation in mind. Indeed, consulting it reveals the benefits of well-structured print bibliographies and the limitations of online databases that only support searches reliant on exact language and spelling matches, limited font recognition, and relevance ranking. No e-book edition is currently available; even if it were, the print volume would be recommended.
As the most up-to-date and comprehensive bibliography of Raeto-Romance linguistics available, and as a relatively inexpensive purchase, Rätoromanische Bibliographie, 1729- 2010 is a necessary addition to any collection specializing in linguistics, particularly Romance linguistics.
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Last update: November 2013 [RT]
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