Monday, December 06, 2010

History of the Familiar

The latest addition to the website is The Strange History of Humanistic Minuscule. It is an odd thing that the form of medieval handwriting that is most familiar to us has a complex history that belies the notion that paleography is about changes to the shapes of letters. In this case, it is about changes to the nature of reading, even if the letters do not change that much and there are only very few absolute criteria that differentiate this family of scripts from what went before, and what continued in parallel with it.


H. Doug Matsuoka said...

I read the sections on the History of Humanist Minuscules and Gothic Book Hands. It's very interesting to see the changes in letter form reflecting the changes in the nature of reading. It made me wonder if there could there be some exclusivity in the Gothic cage of minims? Could Gothic textualis be a "keep out" sign for the uninitiated?

Anyway, thanks for your updates. It's always fun to read and provides much to think about and contemplate.


Dianne said...

I'm not so sure that the minims themselves created exclusivity, as Gothic script could be made very legible if they wanted it to be. I am pretty sure that the use of extreme abbreviation and other tricks of scholarly writing acted as a doorkeeper, as theology and philosophy were discussed within a pretty exclusive club. Lay people, or even common parish priests, were definitely not invited into the debate.

Anonymous said...

You'll want to add a facebook button to your blog. I just bookmarked this article, although I had to complete it manually. Simply my $.02 :)

- Robson

Dianne said...

It's got a Share to Facebook button from where I'm sitting. Don't know what's happening at your end.