Organizers: Barbara M. Eggert (Humboldt University, Berlin) and Christine Schott (Erskine College, South Carolina)
Errare humanum est – and just as today, errors and mistakes occurred in every field of medieval culture, concerning the sacred and the secular sphere alike.
During the Holy Mass, priests lost focus, words were omitted from liturgical texts, wine got spilled on sacred garments - and there were texts, of course, telling you how to deal with these failings, how to unmake these mistakes. In the legal context, mistakes of law or fact could have a vital influence on the sentence – therefore, following the Roman Law, errors and
mistakes were categorized, classed, and addressed in legal texts. While scholars of medieval arts usually focus on the craftsmanship of the artifacts, errors and mistakes of a different nature are to be found in any genre; some of them, like flaws in pottery, obviously happened accidentally; others, like portraits of figures with two left hands, belong to the category of
As a follow-up of the questions raised in the session Un/making Mistakes in Medieval Manuscripts (Kalamazoo 2013), the purpose of this session is to examine errors and mistakes and the "corrections" thereof from different angles: On the one hand, the sessio_nFocuses on theory by analyzing how medieval scholars of different fields defined error and mistake and the consequences these phenomena could have. What mistakes mattered, and in what context – and (how) could they be corrected?
On the other hand, the session is dedicated to the material aspects of error, that is the exploration of mistakes in medieval artifacts. It invites paper proposals from both scholars of text as well as scholars of images of any genre (manuscripts, textiles, stained glass windows, etc.) that explore the nature of errors, mistakes, and obscurities in medieval media as well as
the “corrections” thereof to gain insight into the contemporary assumptions about what a particular medium should look like.
The session welcomes papers from all disciplines.
Please send your abstract, along with a short CV and the paper proposal form (which you can download here) to Barbara M. Eggert and Christine Schott by September 1, 2013.