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Images in the Margins – Review

Images in the Margins by Margot Mcilwain Nishimura

This is a cute little book about the marginalia often shown in medieval manuscript. It talks about th history of marginalia and how it started in the large capital letters of earlier manuscripts.

Images in the Margins does a good job of detailing which manuscript in particular the images come form so it’s possible to look up digital copies of the text later. There’s also brief history notes alongside the marginalia, talking about the importance of hunting for instance alongside hunting marginalia.

Marginalia often serve as a good insight into the mindsets of the people copying the manuscript. It also often gives us clues into the more common aspects which aren’t always depicted in other places, such as the image of the swimmers.

[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] “Images in the Margins” is the third in the popular Medieval Imagination series of small, affordable books drawing on manuscript illumination in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library. Each volume focuses on a particular theme and provides an accessible, delightful introduction to the imagination of the medieval world. An astonishing mix of mundane, playful, absurd, and monstrous beings are found in the borders of English, French, and Italian manuscripts from the Gothic era. Unpredictable, topical, often irreverent, like the “New Yorker” cartoons of today, marginalia images drawn in the margins of manuscripts were a source of satire, serious social observation, and amusement for medieval readers. Through enlarged, full-color details and a lively narrative, this volume brings these intimately scaled, fascinating images to a wider audience. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Medieval Pets – Review

Medieval Pets

Kathleen Walker-Meikle

It can sometimes be hard to find information on pets in the medieval world. Larsdatter has various links and sources on her webpage Larsdatter sitemap

but like most of her pages it’s mostly the manuscript images of the various animals that she describes.
Walker-Meikle talks a bit more about the literature references but the most valuable part is the inferences that she makes and the detailed descriptions of how pets such as small dogs, pampered cats and trained squirrels (I love that. Trained squirrels!) were kept.

There’s a couple of illustrations but not a great deal, Larsdatter would be better for any interested in manuscript images. The text can be a bit dry in places but is very informative. The bibliography and notes are extensive, everything is carefully referenced.

[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Animals in the middle ages have often been discussed ? but usually only as a source of food, as beasts of burden, or as aids for hunters. This book takes a completely different angle, showing that they were also beloved domestic companions to their human owners, whether they were dogs, cats, monkeys, squirrels, and parrots. It offers a full survey of pets and pet-keeping: from how they were acquired, kept, fed, exercised, and displayed, to the problems they could cause. It also examines the representation of pets and their owners in art and literature; the many charming illustrations offer further evidence for the bonds between humans and their pets, then as now. A wide range of sources, including chronicles, letters, sermons and poems, are used in what is both an authoritative and entertaining account. Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle is a Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of York, working on animals and medieval medicine.[/tab] [/tabs]