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Franciscan Books and their Readers

Friars and Manuscripts in Late Medieval Italy

René Hernández

240 pages
Amsterdam University Press
Franciscan Books and their Readers explores the manuscripts written, read and studied by Franciscan friars from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries in northern Italy, and specifically Padua, assessing four key aspects: ideal, space, form and readership. The ideal is studied through the regulations that determined what manuscripts should aim for. Space refers to the development and role of Franciscan libraries. The form is revealed by the assessment of the physical configuration of a set of representative manuscripts read, written and manufactured by the friars. Finally, the study of the readership shows how Franciscans were skilled readers who employed certain forms of the manuscript as a portable, personal library and as a tool for learning and pastoral care. By comparing the book collections of Padua’s reformed and unreformed medieval Franciscan libraries for the first time, this study reveals new features of the ground-breaking cultural agency of medieval friars.
Author Bio
René Hernández Vera completed his PhD at the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds and has taught at the University of York and the Universidad Santo Tomás in Bogotá, Colombia. More recently he has collaborated on the teaching of the History of Medieval Libraries in the Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World of the University of Padua.