Category Archives: Irene O’Daly

The Beauty of Mistakes

By Irene O’Daly Medieval manuscripts often contain traces unintentionally left behind by the scribe. A casualty of spell-check and mass-production, mistakes in books, like typographical errors, are now usually spotted before they reach the shelves.   The medieval scribe wasn’t … Continue reading

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Reeling Back the Years: Commemorating the Middle Ages

By Irene O’Daly As preparations for the World Cup gather momentum here in the Netherlands, it is worth remembering some of the other reasons why 2014 is an important year. Many commemorations across the world are marking the passing of … Continue reading

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Talk to the Hand: Finger Counting and Hand Diagrams in the Middle Ages

By Irene O’Daly In the absence of computers and calculators, a highly elaborate system of finger-counting and gestural sign-language developed in the Middle Ages for representing numbers and facilitating conceptual reasoning. These are often represented graphically in medieval manuscripts and … Continue reading

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Medieval Ghostbusters: The Story of M.R. James

By Irene O’Daly On Christmas Day I was delighted to see that the prime-time offering from the BBC was a documentary on a giant of the field of manuscript scholars, M.R. James. The focus of the documentary was not James’ … Continue reading

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And now for something completely different….a humanist manuscript in the Leiden Collection (Leiden PER Q 18)

By Irene O’Daly While most of my research involves eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscripts, occasionally I have an excuse to dig deeper into the collections at Leiden University. Sometimes these searches unearth manuscripts that, while they may be run-of-the-mill examples of … Continue reading

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Classical Manuscripts in the Leiden University Collections

By Irene O’Daly The project organised a colloquium last week (3 September) entitled ‘Writing the Classics in the Middle Ages’ which focused on the production, form and transmission of classical manuscripts in the medieval West. Alongside a number of papers, … Continue reading

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Quire as Folk? Conventions of Manuscript Construction

By Irene O’Daly Although much of the attention of our project focuses on what is in the manuscript – its script, its layout, texts, and additions – we are also concerned with its physical make-up. One area I’ve become particularly … Continue reading

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Leeds International Medieval Congress 1-4 July, 2013

By Irene O’Daly For every medievalist, the surest sign of summer is not an increase in temperatures, or the prospect of holidays, but the rolling around of the annual Leeds IMC. This year the conference had a new home, moving … Continue reading

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I Love Paris in the Springtime… A User’s Guide to the BnF

By Irene O’Daly Say the words Bibliothèque nationale de France to any manuscript researcher and it tends to invite a series of anecdotes – usually horror stories about long days trawling through blurry microfilms, refusals of access to manuscripts, and its … Continue reading

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Navigating the Digital World

By Irene O’Daly Recently, the library of Trinity College, Dublin made their most famous manuscript, the Book of Kells free to view online. While this is a welcome move, I was disappointed by the relative lack of browsing ease that … Continue reading

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