Category Archives: Erik Kwakkel

My First Year on Twitter: How I Became @erik_kwakkel

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) I signed up for Twitter almost a year ago to the day. I had heard of Twitter, of course, but I connected the medium to such messages as “I am so bored of this life!” and “I just … Continue reading

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The Traveling Book: Medieval Texts on the Move

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) In their owner’s backpack, on wagons and in boats: medieval books were keen travelers. With them they carried texts and ideas across the map of Europe, disseminating the sciences, spreading romances and passing on historical narratives. Short texts … Continue reading

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“Book to Reader, Come in Reader!” The Manuscript Speaks, But Are You Listening?

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) When I prepare myself to go to a library to study a medieval manuscript there are certain items I will pack. Pencil: check. Ruler: check. Magnifying glass: check. Mirror: check. iPad: check. All are in frequent … Continue reading

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Life Beyond the Grave: The Leiden Apocalypse Fragments

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) A while ago, this blog devoted a post to medieval manuscript fragments, parts of sheets that were cut up and used to support bookbindings. New fragments appear on the radar frequently. Just yesterday, for example, new fragments of … Continue reading

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A Window Display of 140 Characters: Why and How Twitter Works for Me as an Academic

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) Earlier this year I was invited to join the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. All of a sudden I found myself in the company of researchers who were relatively young, yet advanced … Continue reading

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Secrets of the Heart: Exploring the Dark Side of the Manuscript

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) In the heart of the medieval book, where the quires are united and meet the binding, great secrets loom in the dark. This is the place where we can read things in the manuscript that cannot be read … Continue reading

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New Evidence of Note-Taking in the Medieval Classroom

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) When I was going through some manuscripts in the Leiden University Library some time ago in preparation for one of my paleography classes, I came across an unusual medieval object: a small strip of parchment of 100×50 mm … Continue reading

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First They Kiss and Then They Bite: How Letters in Love Make History

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) If you don’t know when something precisely happened, can you still call it a historical event? What is the historian to do with information from a source that is not dated? What if it mentions how an official … Continue reading

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Hidden Treasure, or How Destruction Creates Beautiful Things

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) If you have worked with medieval or early-modern books you will likely have encountered them: tiny pieces of medieval parchment sticking out of bindings, and parts of manuscript leaves glued to the inside of boards. This hidden treasure … Continue reading

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Common but not Ordinary: The Leiden Dioscorides Examined

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) This week one of my MA-students expressed he wanted to write his thesis on MS VLQ 1 in the Leiden University Library. The manuscript in question contains an alphabetized version of Dioscorides’ De materia medica. It belonged to … Continue reading

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