Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World Through Illuminated Manuscripts

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Product Details

J. Paul Getty Museum
Publish Date
8.0 X 0.8 X 10.0 inches | 2.45 pounds
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About the Author

Bryan C. Keene is associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, contributing author to Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Getty Publications, 2012), coauthor of Sacred Landscapes: Nature in Renaissance Manuscripts (Getty Publications, 2017), and author of Gardens of the Renaissance (Getty Publications, 2013).


Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts showcases a kaleidoscopic and multifaceted premodern world though decorated books of many kinds. That variegated world, stretching from the Americas to Afro-Eurasia to Austronesia, is offered to the reader through extraordinary images and thoughtful essays that delight, instruct, and surprise us.

With imagination and verve, Bryan C. Keene curates a selection of essays and images that attest how book arts, in conceptualizing and depicting the lived and imagined worlds of their time, played a complex role in forging early globalisms. Those of us who research, teach, and study a Global Middle Ages (gratifyingly, this volume's editor, unlike many scholars, is alive to the problematic character of this now-popular term for naming the past) are richly rewarded by the perspicacity and diversity exhibited in this sumptuous, magnificent volume.

This book should be on everyone's shelves.

--Geraldine Heng, founder and director of the Global Middle Ages Project and Perceval Professor at the University of Texas at Austin

"A book with real intellectual (and literal) heft. . . . Toward a Global Middle Ages does an admirable job at showing some of the ways the medieval world was much bigger than we tend to think."
--Times Higher Education
"A nuanced and balanced study of the interconnectedness of reading, writing and illustrating in the world before printing."
--The Art Newspaper
"This exciting and handsomely produced volume offers 22 studies, by an international team of authors, addressing what a "global Middle Ages" might mean for the study of illustrated manuscripts. . . . All essays are annotated, and the cumulative bibliography, which includes studies from many disciplines, is a goldmine. Seldom has this reviewer learned so much, and with such pleasure. This is a challenging first attempt at an overview and a great achievement. . . . Highly recommended."