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Title: Diagrams in English medieval manuscripts.
Author: Semper, Philippa Judith.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 6217
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 1994
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This thesis examines diagrams found in English medieval manuscripts dating from the ninth to the fourteenth century. It is based upon a survey of diagrammatic material, the results of which are presented in the catalogue raisonnee (Appendix A). The lack of adequate terms to define diagrams is addressed, as is the lack of a consistent and coherent treatment of diagrams in existing literature. A close critique of diagrams can be an aid in dating manuscripts and tracing textual recensions, and therefore a well-defined yet flexible framework must be established in order to further future research. The catalogue establishes standard types for particular diagrams, which can be used for comparison and identification of examples in manuscripts. The discussion of the thesis is largely structured on a chronological basis, studying the types of diagrams which were in use in three periods; late Antiquity, the Dark Ages, and the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. The main diagrammatic forms which were transmitted from late classical commentaries in medieval manuscripts are analysed in terms of their content and technique. These diagrams are still influenced by Greek learning. Changes and adaptations in these forms and techniques are then observed. The degeneracy of learning in the Dark Ages is characterised by diagrams based on cyclical rather than circular forms. The availability of translations of Greek texts through Arab sources in the twelfth century leads again to precise diagrams which accompany logical textual exposition. Diagrams are finally viewed within the wider context of medieval art. Features of medieval aesthetics are highlighted which make it possible to approach diagrams in the same way as works of art. The importance of geometric structures to artistic composition is increased by the symbolic meanings which are attached to certain shapes and proportions. Pictorial diagrams themselves migrate into wall-paintings and floor-mosaics, and also eventually into literature
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature