Illuminated Manuscripts & Other Enlightenments

By Fogarty, Robert S. | The Antioch Review, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Illuminated Manuscripts & Other Enlightenments


Fogarty, Robert S., The Antioch Review


Many museums in these straitened days are turning to their storage areas to mount shows at minimal cost. No blockbusters, expensive middlemen, just the archives (their equivalent of our backlist) to cart up from downstairs, which eliminates special transportation costs and insurance fees. The Cleveland Museum of Art has done just that recently and put together an impressive small show titled "The Glory of the Painted Page" that drew upon their impressive collection of illuminated manuscripts: "missals" for the mass, "graduals" that contained liturgical music, and "psalters" for the psalms. The illustrated work might be a single letter or a single leaf from a larger text. In one 1420 gradual, for example, there was a vine creeping up the side of a page that wrapped around a putto (an angel), a rabbit, and a stork. In 1185 Geraldus Cambrensis wrote appropriately about the complexity of these colorful pages: "Look more keenly at the book and you will penetrate to the very shrine of art. You will make out intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so exact and compact, so full of knots and links, with colors so fresh and vivid."

Many of the essays we publish tend to be in what is referred to as the longform and deal with substantial public or literary issues such as recent pieces on China, euphemisms, or an exploration about how to translate literary biographies into film. There are exceptions surely, such as Maureen McCoy's personal piece about her father's death that was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards. However, we do receive a great number of short, personal, reflective excursions about people and places. These mini-essays try to capture: a time (St. Louis, the 1950s), a personality (a turbaned man); a loved or hated parent or deserted spouse; a fragment of time that seems like a page from a book of hours; a sketch that resembles a biographical entry in a cyclopedia; or a series of facts about a town on Route 20 once famous and now passed by. Ben Miller's essay about an auction that ends both a way of life and a business and Paul Kramer's miniature portrait of a black man passing as a potentate in the 1940s are both intimate and graphic--as colorful as an illuminated page.

Our stories, of course, rely on these same sources, but seek to push us into another realm, to surround the hard world with the fictive glory of an illustrated missal, gradual, or psalter, thereby enlightening an interior world laid bare through language and imagination. The line between story and reportage has blurred in recent years and an argument can be made, for example, that the character of the idealist Simonson in Tolstoy's Resurrection is far less interesting than the real Positivist and Utopian William Frey, who migrated to America in search of "freedom" under his given name of Vladimir Konstantinovich Geins only to change it on arrival. Geins was, in fact, more vital and interesting than Tolstoy's re-creation of him. Poetry--at least under editor Judith Hall's hand--illuminates each page by its compression, by its vividness, and by its capacity to suggest larger worlds within smaller spaces. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Illuminated Manuscripts & Other Enlightenments
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.