September 27, 2017

Kathryn Funderburg ’17 carried out a summer research project under my supervision in June and July of 2016. Katie’s particular interest in manuscripts and medieval religious literature dovetailed well with my current work on an unedited Latin text by the fourteenth-century mystic, Richard Rolle, and for her project Katie set about assembling the most recent catalogue descriptions of all the surviving medieval manuscripts of this text (almost fifty in total). Working with the manuscripts of Trinity’s special collections library as examples, Katie learned to read the copious information packed into these descriptions, and she then identified which surviving manuscripts were always coherent units in their present form and which represented later attempts at collection and compilation (that is, these books are now made up of what were once discrete smaller booklets).

Armed with this information, Katie tracked patterns in the works that were copied together with Rolle’s text, looking to identify groups of manuscripts on the basis of these pairings. In the end, she focused her efforts on a particular clutch of three manuscripts, all certainly copied from a single exemplar and, she argued, most likely originating from the university of Oxford early in the fifteenth century.

After graduating from Trinity in May 2017, Katie began her graduate studies at the University of Illinois’s School of Information Sciences, where she is supported by a prestigious Beinecke scholarship (and she is still sending me information on the Rolle manuscripts in the Illinois collection).

Katie's research was described in Trinity's undergraduate research blog, in a post written by another of my students.


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