Manuscripts to be on loan to New College this fall

A medieval manuscript, such as this, will be loaned to New College by a manuscript dealer as part of the Manuscripts in the Curriculum program.
A medieval manuscript, such as this, will be loaned to New College by a manuscript dealer as part of the Manuscripts in the Curriculum program.

Les Enluminures, a medieval manuscript dealer based in Paris, selected New College of Florida to participate in the third round of its Manuscripts in the Curriculum program. New College will receive 10 manuscripts on loan for the Fall 2019 semester as part of the program for use in the classroom and community outreach projects.

“These are full-size manuscripts, many of them illustrated or illuminated,” said Professor of Medieval & Renaissance History Carrie Beneš. “Each [manuscript is] worth anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 — material witnesses to the past that our students would otherwise never have the chance to study up close and in detail.”

Dr. Beneš is part of a group of New College faculty who will incorporate the manuscripts into its curricula next fall. Her vision for engaging the broader Sarasota Bay community through a calligraphy project, however, likely helped New College secure participation in Manuscripts in the Curriculum. Although the main focus of the program is to bring original manuscripts into the classroom, Les Enluminures encourages public display of the manuscripts.

“I think the committee was impressed by the flexibility and collegiality of a small liberal-arts college,” said Beneš. The committee, she continued, “commented that our application ‘was so interesting; we’re very impressed by both the plans for courses with your students, and with your ambitious plans for outreach to the community.’”

The loaned manuscripts will supplement New College’s present Schoenberg-Brizdle collection and give students invaluable access to materials seldom found in American classrooms.

“To hold and to turn the pages of a manuscript is to touch hands directly with medieval Europe,” Les Enluminures explains on its website. “Nearly everything we know about the early history of language, literature, the Bible, poetry, music, art, family life, medicine, travel, science, religion, philosophy and piety comes to us through manuscripts and cannot be studied without them.”


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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