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Medieval Manuscript History Detectives at Work:
The Life and Times of the Cronica of Guillaume de Nangis, from Saint-Denis to St. Pancras
DANIEL WILLIMAN and KAREN CORSANO
7:30 PM, Thursday, December 3, 2009
Special Collections Reading Room, Bailey/Howe Library
Medieval manuscripts intrigue us because of the intense and tedious labor evident in their making, the colorful illustrations that sometimes accompany their text, and because they represent links in the chain of knowledge spanning hundreds or even thousands of years. A monk in the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Denis named Guillaume de Nangis (or William of Nangis) produced a chronicle of the world late in the thirteenth century that was widely admired and copied. The original manuscript passed through the hands of French and English nobility into the library of King Henry VIII, and eventually to the British Library, now at St. Pancras, London.
How manuscripts were copied, miscopied, and propagated, and how specific manuscripts were handed down over the years—their provenance—is the subject of historical detective work undertaken by a relatively small number of specialists. Daniel Williman and Karen Corsano have traced the path of Guillaume de Nangis’s Cronica through the centuries and will share their discoveries with us—with some additional comments on the collection of medieval manuscripts in the Special Collections Department of Bailey/Howe Library.
Daniel Williman, professor emeritus of Classics at Binghamton University, and Karen Corsano, senior programmer at Channing Laboratories, Harvard University, are medieval scholars with unique expertise in establishing the provenance of medieval manuscripts. Their detective work has taken them to libraries, archives, and museums in all corners of the Continent and the United Kingdom.
Free and open to the public. Parking is available at the visitor parking lot on College St. For more information, call 656-2138 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.