Reflecting on my Manuscript

The process of analyzing my manuscript has been unique to say the least. From the work I have done so far on my manuscript, I have a gained a new level of respect for the work. It requires a level of attention to detail and critical thinking that I simply do not have. I tried, to the best of my ability, to figure this out, but, after my presentation, I clearly came up short.

Discovering the origins of my manuscript was a grueling process. As I mentioned in my presentation, I focused on the etymology of certain words—a creative, yet dangerous, method. I thought that, by tracking the history of how certain words were spelt, I could find the origin of my manuscript. Once I learnt it was written in Latin, but with French headings, I thought it was before the Protestant Reformation. As it is known, biblical texts began to be written in the vernacular during the Reformation. And, by tracking the origins of certain words, such as “martyr” written as “martir”, I placed the origin in 11th to 12th Century France.

I am using the word “thought” rather than “know” because, frankly, my presentation was a learning opportunity.

As it turns out, I did not factor in that my manuscript was not the original. Somehow. It seems so logical, with everything that has been covered in our class thus far, yet it escaped my train of thought. It was written in a later time period, because it is a reproduction, not the original copy. Additionally, other countries outside of France spoke French in the Middle Ages and Early-Modern Period. All these counterpoints are so obviously, so I am perplexed as to why I did not think of it during my preparation for my presentation. I took a risk with all the confidence in the world, and it backfired completely. Such is life, I suppose.

If it was or was not from a Book of Hours does not matter; the etymology of “martir” in French is the key to finding the true origin of my manuscript.

How foolish a thought that was.

Upon looking at my manuscript after the presentations, it so obvious its laughable. It did not occur to me that the iconography could be indicators of the origin. The text as well, being Gothic Textura, are indicative that my original hypothesis of a 11th or 12th Century was founded on unsound logic. Out of all the clues and leads I could have investigated, I chose the etymology of a few words that looked like they were spelt unusual.

The only reason I can provide for this lapse of judgement is… Well, I do not have one. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

With more research to be done for my catalogue entry, I can at least say that the presentations helped me realize a few things about my manuscript. It is very similar to a couple of the others in this class, so the presentations will help me accurately place the origin of my manuscript, as well as the purpose of it. I can assume that it is from a Book of Hours, due to the iconography and the text. The year, however, is still in question.

I have a lot of work to do with to this manuscript. Through my struggles, I have gained immense respect for the process and those who endure it. The amount of knowledge and attention this craft demands are things I did not expect to be so high. Perhaps this is the reason I failed in my argument for the manuscript’s origins. That is not to say that I did not take it seriously; I simply did not meet those demands.