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Which clippings match 'Margin Notes' keyword pg.1 of 1
11 AUGUST 2012

Medieval manuscript illustrations were planned not doodled

"it's the word 'doodle' that really riles my pedantic dander. ... because, as I try to make clear, the images I post ... weren't scribbled into the margins by surreptitious snarkers whilst no one was looking. They were explicitly commissioned by the manuscript's patrons as part of the project from the very beginning. For the well–heeled noble, ordering a book was not just a matter of selecting the text; deciding on size, presentation, illustration, and ratio of naked dudes to non–naked dudes in the margins was all part of the process of getting a book made.

This is not to say that medieval readers and scribes didn't ever doodle. It's just easy to tell the difference between images planned as part of the manuscript's commission and those scribbled in by a creative, bored scribe or one of the later owners of the manuscript. Just as you might imagine, a reader might decide a chunk of text was particularly important and make a note in the margin ... Or, someone might just decide a page looked too blank and thus attempt to fill up some of that space [1]... See, the thing about medieval doodles is they look just like modern doodles ...

For this page [2], somebody sat down and sketched out a rough draft, showed it to somebody else, possibly even multiple somebodies. There were meetings. Consultants were brought in. The client was consulted. And at some point somebody said, 'Yes, that's very nice, the nuns smuggling that dude into their nunnery. Very topical. But I don't like that blanket. Too drab. Can we get someone to put some flowers on it? The difference is, I hope, clear. You don't doodle in gold leaf."

(Carl Pyrdum, 13 February 2012, Got Medieval)

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TAGS

annotationannotationsbookclientcomment systemcommentscommission • commissioned • doodledoodlingembellishmentexpository addendum • fill the space • footnotegloss (marginal notation) • gold leaf • illuminated manuscriptillustrationsinformation in contextmanuscript • manuscript illustrations • manuscriptsmargin notes • marginal illustrations • marginal notationmarginaliamarginsmedieval • medieval doodles • medieval readers • modern doodles • nakednotationnote in the marginnotesnunpage • planned images • planned not doodled • rough draft • scholia • scribbled • scribbled into the marginsvisual depiction

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 APRIL 2007

A Dual Strategy: reading both annotations and their texts

"This reveals a dual strategy: firstly, we are not 'reading' a text through its main text only, but more through its periphery and specific textures like the notes apparatus, the selection of pictures, the quotations and references, the imprint, the binding or context for an essay etc. Academic texts present this subtext and context apparatus very consciously. The second part of the strategy is that the index, relieved of its referential quality, has now become the main text.

These artists 'liberate' images (Peter Piller) and words (Douglas Blau) from their original indexicality of reference to an original system, so that they can be re–ordered and opened up to a new way of reading. The generative quality of the text apparatuses and the logic of the library (as a store for all reference structures), make the archive into a producer and into an archive of potential texts. Text and image are not just placed in the archive as an 'Akte' (document) but become 'Akteure' (actors) in their own right. It is misleading to talk about a knowledge store when in fact we are dealing with a knowledge generator."

(Rudolf Frieling, Media Art Net)

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