Minuscule Texts: Marginalized Voices in Early Medieval Latin Culture (c. 700–c. 1000)
MINiTEXTS seeks to systematically study early medieval minuscule texts, i.e. short texts of which large numbers were added to blank spaces of Latin manuscripts from c. 700 to c. 1000 and which manuscript scholars refer to as “microtexts,” “guest texts,” or “additions.” Unlike such manuscripts’ main texts, minuscule texts are seldom characterized by identifiable authors or easily traceable histories of textual transmission. As a result, textual and cultural historians tended to either neglect them or compartmentalize them within highly specialized disciplines. By contrast, MINiTEXTS examines minuscule texts across commonly accepted disciplinary boundaries, as a unique corpus of practical knowledge deeply embedded in the social praxis of early medieval society. By establishing the first taxonomy of such texts, MINiTEXTS will fill a significant gap in knowledge of their production, use, and functions. Further, MINiTEXTS aspires to understand the “social logic” of minuscule texts as well as the social, religious, and cultural practices that they signify by developing a transferable methodology inspired by theoretical insights and methods of cultural history, material philology, material codicology, performative theory, and digital humanities. By analyzing historical, textual, codicological, and performative contexts of individual minuscule texts and setting the resulting microhistories within a longue durée perspective, MINiTEXTS promises significant gain in the understanding of early medieval heterogenous culture. MINiTEXTS will thus allow the hitherto marginalized voices of early medieval manuscript culture to be articulated in the current debates over several intertwined issues of medieval cultural history, such as the correlation between the norm and diversity in liturgical practices, the interplay among orthodoxy, heterodoxy, and deviance in religious practices, and the relationships among religion, magic, and medicine in medieval culture.