Friday, May 9, 2008

Unusual Online Reproductions of Medieval Manuscripts

Online reproductions take many forms, from simple textual transcriptions to multimedia productions. There are some reproductions that are totally innovative that form a very unusual group of reproductions of medieval manuscripts.

The Luttrell Psalter
A non-profit group of filmmakers, actors, craftsmen--indeed, an entire community--has come together to bring to life this manuscript on film through a number of recreations. Below is the trailer for their upcoming film. Clothes have been recreated, as have ploughs, music, dances, food, buildings, and a host of other things. Here is a link to their website, where you can find more information about this project.

Revival Clothing
This is a company that sells recreations of medieval clothing as well as anachronistic interpretations (they use cotton and elastic in some things, which is not period-authentic). Since there are few extant garments that give us a good idea of how medieval people dressed, art is used to help decide how things fit and wore--those this was sometimes sculpture or paintings, it was more often than not a manuscript that provided the last word on a garment. Choose a garment from their catalogue and scroll down to see their “historical inspirations” (“inspirations” because even manuscript art is not precise and the closures of some of the clothing can prove tricky). They provide shelf marks, folio numbers, and proper manuscript documentation for most of their items--in specific, you can see the Gaston Phoebus clothes in the men’s section are all traced back to the Bibliothéque Nationale’s “Book of the Hunt”.

The Roman de la Rose Musical
This struck me as a completely unorthodox renewal of medieval literature from manuscripts until I remembered Monty Python’s Holy Grail and the absurd ensuing musical Spamalot. This is a student project, with a website all its own, but I present to you the trailer, here:

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