Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu Háskóla Íslands

Beeke Stegmann

Malleable Manuscripts

Structural Alteration of Artefacts in the Arnamagnæan Collection

Fimmtudaginn 22. nóvember 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Beeke Stegmann

In this lecture, Beeke Stegmann discusses how Árni Magnússon (1663-1730), the famous founder of the Arnamagnæan Collection, not only assembled and stored Icelandic and Scandinavian manuscripts but also physically rearranged the artefacts. In order to facilitate his significant scholarly activities, Árni Magnússon systematically changed the structure of the manuscripts in his collection. First, larger codices were divided into smaller parts containing one to three texts each. Then he recombined the units to form new manuscripts of varying sizes.

The extent and significance of rearrangements in the Arnamagnæan Collection have long been underestimated. Upon closer investigation, however, many traces of Árni Magnússon’s structural alterations can be seen. The lecture describes the basic steps for identifying such changes in manuscripts with the help of examples from the collection.

Heretofore, Árni Magnússon’s rearrangements of paper manuscripts from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries have received the most attention, as the traces of alteration are fairly obvious. New research indicates that Árni treated parchment manuscripts in a similar way, despite the fact that he had a special appreciation for artefacts made of that material. The trademark traces of his alterations are equally present in some parchment manuscripts, meaning that his preference for older artefacts did not prevent Árni Magnússon from structurally altering them.

Beeke Stegmann is a post-doc at the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen, where she received her PhD in 2017. She studies the origin and provenance of Scandinavian manuscripts and charters, but also has an interest in digital editions.

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