Pecia. Le livre et l'écrit


It is impossible to conceive medieval cultural production without taking into account the manuscript book, in all its forms. Abandoning monastic scriptoria, then cathedral 'libraries' (and, de facto, the privileges of the clergy), the book quickly became integrated into the city with the advent of large university centres and their associated colleges. The rapid development of these lay workshops stemmed from the pecia system. Around this developed innovative techniques, where the illuminator was given a place of high esteem, which symbolised the importance of the image in medieval society. From the simple reader to the experienced 'collector', the manuscript book thus built up a new, wider audience, and from the 'Bible moralisée' to the Book of hours (that bestseller of medieval personal devotions), this cultural object transformed itself into a saleable item, finding its way into the imposing collections of new princes and book-loving lords. But the book is also a memorial trace. The Church continued to make use of it for liturgical ministry (gospels, missals, psalteries, breviaries, etc) or for solemnities of remembrance (necrologies, obituaries). In a university, the 'master' would found an appropriate collection, of law (for legalists), theology, or medicine ; the student copied his class book. In this way, each manuscript is unique. As an object representing the diffusion of knowledge, as a documentary source of the first order, the study of manuscripts is essential for those wishing to understand the medieval world.

Pecia ▪ Le livre et l’écrit ▪ seeks to promote bibliographic studies through the publication of articles dedicated to the history of the medieval manuscript book. Each volume is structured around a central theme. Articles are generally published in French, English, Spanish or Italian.

Pecia ▪ Le livre et l'écrit  ▪ [ ISSN 1761-4961 ]. Published by :

Un périodique à vocation internationale dédié aux sources manuscrites du Moyen Age occidental

An international journal devoted to sources, mainly manuscripts, for the study of history of western medieval society

Bourges, Musée du Berry. ms 1924.4.1. Heures d'Anne de Mathefelon

 All content © Jean-Luc Deuffic

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