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Houghton Library

Power and Authority in Visual Paratext

Monday, March 28, 2022, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Houghton Library
Open to the public, Presentation, Presentation,
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Houghton Library-Medieval Studies Lecture in Early Book History presents Anne D. Hedeman on "Power and Authority in Visual Paratext"

Anne D. Hedeman is the Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Kansas. 

In this lecture, Hedeman will explore visual elements in King Charles V’s Grandes chroniques de France (Paris, BnF Ms. fr. 2813), a French translation of a royal chronicle first written in Latin. This manuscript represents a unique case in which the manipulation of images and their associated titles or captions (called ‘rubrics’) work together to express power and to legitimate authority. 

What was the role of these rubricated images in shaping perceptions of power in the emerging genre of French-language history in France, particularly in cases where rubrics were not part of the original authorial text?  To suggest how these power dynamics work, Hedeman will consider the royal scribe’s groundbreaking inclusion of the rubricated visual cycle in this copy of the Grandes chroniques, developed at a specific political moment around 1370-75. The manuscript is also important because it contains a revised and extended rubricated cycle added a few years later by a second royal scribe. 

Please be aware that this event is subject to Harvard Library's visitor access policies. Attendees without Harvard ID age 12 or older will be required to present proof of vaccination and booster, along with a photo ID for those age 17 and older.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access may contact Houghton Library's Administrative Coordinator Le Huong Huynh by email or at 617-495-2443 in advance of the workshop.


Image: Detail of Einhard writing and the Coronation of Charlemagne. Grandes chroniques de France. Paris, 1375-1380. Paris, BnF Ms. fr. 2813, fol. 85v. Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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John Overholt