Saturday, September 13, 2008

Useless mounds of paper

Last week or so, Jeremy and I were talking about illuminated manuscripts, for whatever reason. He asked me what the term was that means "fancy illustrated capital letters" in a manuscript. Seeing as I don't deal with medieval art history on a daily basis, I went to look it up in the first half of Marilyn Stokstad's Art History, a book I've kept around since my freshman year of college for reference.

Seriously, I've dragged this two-volume set around with me since 2001, moving every year. Jeremy always bugs me to get rid of it, but it's sort of nostalgic, y'know. These textbooks feel like one of the last vestiges of my college education, a souvenir from that part of my life, which, intellectually I've more or less left behind.*

At any rate, I first used the book's index to find the section on illuminated manuscripts. I flipped to the correct page, and read the 5-6 paragraphs. No mention of decorated initials. I had noticed there were a few other places the index listed, so I went through every mention of "manuscripts" in the whole book. Nothing.

Where did I end up finding the information I was looking for? Wikipedia.

*Believe it or not, there's not a pressing need to know about, say, Abstract Impressionism from a Marxist perspective in corporate America.** I *do* get complements on my ability to draw straight lines on chart paper, though.

**Don't worry, I still fiercely believe in the value of a Liberal Arts education. That's another post, however.