Presenter: Dr. Siân Echard

Siân Echard teaches courses in Middle English literature, the Arthurian tradition, medievalism, and book history. Her research interests include Anglo Latin literature (especially Geoffrey of Monmouth), Arthurian literature, John Gower, and manuscript studies and book history. She is particularly interested in how the presentation of text—on the page, in the archive, in the digital world—affects how text is received and discussed. She holds a UBC Killam Research Prize for 1998, a UBC Killam Teaching Prize for 2001, and was named a Distinguished University Scholar in 2004.

Lost, Found, and Manufactured: Facsimiles as Primary Texts

Many medieval texts survive only in manuscripts or early printed books that are partial or damaged, and in some cases, medieval originals have been lost entirely. Often we depend for our knowledge of those texts and their manuscripts on copies made at some point before the loss. This talk looks at copies made by various technologies, from the sixteenth century onwards, and explores how scholars have positioned themselves with respect to these copies. Sometimes, our only “primary text” is a sixteenth-century transcription, or an eighteenth-century engraving, or a nineteenth-century chromolithograph. What happens when the primary is, in a sense, secondary?

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