News archive 2009
Writing the Middle Ages15 Jan 2009, PR 08/09
A major exhibition exploring the physical act of writing – scripts, tools and materials – and the content of medieval writings, has opened in the Weston Room of the Maughan Library at King’s College London and runs until Saturday 28 March.
Writing the Middle Ages looks at the transition from a manuscript to a print culture at the close of the Middle Ages and also examines later reinterpretations, or “re-writings” of the Middle Ages by antiquarians, poets and scholars.
Drawing extensively on the riches of the College’s Foyle Special Collections Library, the exhibition also includes material lent by Senate House Library, by the Museum of Writing and by kind permission of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library.
Curated by Joshua Davies of the Department of English, he explains the background to the exhibition.
‘Since the early seventeenth century the term ‘Middle Ages’ has been used to designate a period of around 1,000 years that lies between the civilisations of Classical Antiquity and the Modern Age. This period of time, roughly AD 400 to 1500, has often been perceived as marking a decline in standards of living and an increase in persecution and destruction that stand in contrast to the civilities, rationality and achievements of the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Modern Age.
‘However, the Middle Ages also saw the institution of many of the political, religious and cultural traditions that continue to structure European social life today, as well as great achievements in art, book-making, and historical and religious scholarship; the difference of the past from the present cannot be understood simply in terms of alterity and similarity, or of continuity and change. Indeed, the very idea of the Middle Ages has itself changed and evolved as it has been imagined by generations of scholars and artists to fit their own needs and agendas.’
For more information: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/library/spec/exhib/
[Image: Illuminated letter from the Nuremberg Chronicle : Foyle Special Collections Library]
Notes to editors
Foyle Special Collections Library
The Foyle Special Collections Library houses some 150,000 printed works, as well as maps, slides, sound recordings and manuscript material. Its collections, built up over centuries by purchase, gift and bequest, contain many unique items and cover all subject areas, but they are particularly strong in medicine, science, voyages and travels, the history of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, European military and diplomatic history, the history of the British Empire, 20th century Germany and Jewish and Christian theology. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/library/spec/
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has 19,700 students from more than 150 countries, and 5,400 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 60 per cent of research activity at King’s was deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of approximately £450 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to more Medical Research Council Centres than any other university.
Melanie Gardner, Senior Public Relations Officer,
Public Relations Department, King’s College London.
Tel: 020 7848 3073; email email@example.com
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