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2013 Marco Manuscript Workshop

8th Annual Marco Manuscript Workshop
Texts at Work
February 1-2, 2013

The Eighth Annual Marco Manuscript Workshop will be held Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2, 2013, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; the workshop is organized by Professors Maura K. Lafferty (Classics) and Roy M. Liuzza (English).

For this year’s workshop we invite presentations that focus on manuscripts as tools. Modern book dealers and collectors rank books by the degree to which they approach the ideal of the pristine new copy; notes and signs of use are considered defects and reduce a book’s value. This was clearly not the attitude of most makers and users of books in the Middle Ages, for whom books were the working tools needed to perform the liturgy, for public reading, for public teaching and private study, for contemplation, for organizing the practical and theoretical knowledge of medicine and law, for preserving and making accessible legal documents, for understanding the nature of the past, the natural world and the divine, for private prayer, for self-improvement. Most manuscripts show signs of use. Sometimes these are the uses for which the manuscript was intended (such as stress accents in books used for public reading or vernacular glosses in Latin texts); in other cases they try to improve the usability of the book (corrections, interpolations, glosses, chapter titles, running heads, indices, tables of contents, and so forth). And in many other cases the generous margins or blank leaves of a manuscript invited other kinds of use: records of significant events, transactions important to an ecclesiastical foundation, ancillary texts on related topics, recipes and prayers, records and commonplaces, memorabilia and scribbles. How do these additions relate to the manuscript’s main texts? How do we read a manuscript as a living text with a busy life? We welcome presentations on any aspect of this topic, broadly imagined.

The workshop is open to scholars and students at any rank and in any field who are engaged in textual editing, manuscript studies, or epigraphy. Individual 75-minute sessions will be devoted to each project; participants will be asked to introduce their text and its context, discuss their approach to working with their material, and exchange ideas and information with other participants. As in previous years, the workshop is intended to be more a class than a conference; participants are encouraged to share new discoveries and unfinished work, to discuss both their successes and frustrations, to offer both practical advice and theoretical insights, and to work together towards developing better professional skills for textual and codicological work. We particularly invite the presentation of works in progress, unusual manuscript problems, practical difficulties, and new or experimental models for studying or representing manuscript texts.

Presenters will receive a stipend of $500 for their participation.

The deadline for applications is October 15, 2012. Applicants are asked to submit a current CV and a two-page letter describing their project to Roy M. Liuzza, preferably via email to, or by mail to the Department of English, University of Tennessee, 301 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0430.

The workshop is also open at no cost to scholars and students who do not wish to present their own work but are interested in sharing a lively weekend of discussion and ideas about manuscript studies. Further details will be available later in the year; please contact Roy Liuzza for more information.