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.”