The letter collections of Greco-Roman antiquity dwarf in total size all of
ancient drama or epic combined, but they have received far less attention than
(say) the plays of Euripides or the epics of Homer or Virgil. Although
classicists have long realised the crucial importance of the order and
arrangement of poems into ‘poetry books’ for the reading and
reception both of individual poems and the collection as a whole, the importance
of order and arrangement in collections of letters and the consequences for
their interpretation have long been neglected. This piece explores some of the
most important Greek letter collections, such as the Letters attributed to
Plato, and examines some of the key problems in studying and editing collections
of such ancient letters.
An Unpublished Manuscript Illuminated by the Master of the Haarlem
Natalija Ganina and James H. Marrow
This paper analyses an unpublished Dutch-language Book of Hours in the John
Rylands Library, focusing on unusual core texts the manuscript contains and
distinctive features of its cycle of illumination. The miniatures and the richly
painted decoration of the manuscript can be attributed to the Master of the
Haarlem Bible and dated c.1450–75. The inserted
full-page miniatures include iconographically noteworthy examples, and the
placement of some in the volume is anomalous, suggesting that they may not have
been planned when the volume was written. Our analyses of distinctive texts and
images of the manuscript lead us to offer suggestions about the religious status
or affiliations of its patron and to propose possible monastic settings in which
it might have been used. We discuss the disparate character of its textual and
illustrative components in relation to current reappraisals of the organisation
of manuscript production in the Northern Netherlands.
This article proposes that Manchester, John Rylands Library, Latin MS 165 was an
‘accessory text’ produced and gifted within the Tudor court and
passed down by matrilineal transmission within the influential Fortescue family.
It proposes that from the text’s conception, the book of devotions
participated in various projects of self-definition, including Henry
VII’s campaign for the canonisation of his Lancastrian ancestor, Henry
VI. By analysing visual and textual evidence, it posits that later female owners
imitated the use of marginal spaces by the book’s original scribe and
illuminator. Finally, it traces the book’s ownership back from its
acquisition by the John Rylands Library to the viscounts Gage, in whose custody
the book underwent a transformation from potentially subversive tool of female
devotion to obscure historical artefact.
The book addresses – in 66 accessible entries – the global circulation of contemporary art in the moment of its fundamental crisis. By using the term ‘projectariat’, the book detours the classical Marxist concept to talk about the life and work of artistic freelancers – artists, curators, critics, academics, writers, technicians and assistants – who, in order to survive, have no choice but to make one project after another and many at the same time. The majority of projectarians do not own much beyond their own capacity to circulate. Thus, they are torn between promises of unrestrained mobility and looming poverty, their precarity only amplified by the global crisis caused by COVID-19. The book is intended as both a critical analysis and a practical handbook that speaks to and about the vast cohort of artistic freelancers worldwide, people who are currently looking for ways of moving beyond the structural conundrum of artistic networks, where everything that is solid melts into flows – and where nothing is certain except one’s own precarity. The book’s narrative is based on a carefully crafted balance between its three constitutive strands: an uncompromising critique of the cruel economy of global networks of contemporary art; an emphatic, non-moralistic understanding of the perils of artistic labour; and systemic advocacy for new modes of collective action aimed at overcoming the structural deficiencies haunting the global circulation of contemporary art.
This chapter explores the interrelationship of knowledge, text, and artisanal identity in early modern London. The focus, unusually, is not on literary representations of craftsmen, or the archives produced by craft companies, but on materials that were independently authored by artisans. This examination of early seventeenth-century artisanal writings includes a master mason’s account book and notebook composed for his workshop and household (authored by Nicholas Stone and his sons), a manuscript treatise on metallurgy written by goldsmiths for a select civic audience, and a printed text of practical mathematics authored by a carpenter for a far-reaching commercial public. The chapter begins with these artisanal-authored texts because in their discussions of household, commercial, and civic activities, they illuminate key features of a broader epistemological culture, which will be examined in greater depth in subsequent chapters. First, the ideal master craftsman has both extensive practical experience, and an understanding of the theoretical principles underpinning his labour; experiential and propositional knowledge are intertwined. Second, artisanal expertise was a charged concept, intersecting with social and political stratifications within civic culture. A third shared theme is that workshop production and assessment of material quality are represented by artisans as collaborative processes, subject to social negotiation. Legitimate judgements about material quality and craftsmanship were made collectively, within select civic spaces, such as the assay house, or company parlour. A fourth shared element is that none of these artisanal texts were meant to be understood in isolation; they all point towards corresponding material cultures and urban spaces.