The things I do for manuscripts…

I took a course in DAP (Developing Academic Practice) last week. It is meant to allow me to teach my own courses next year (woah). Let’s say it was interesting, but having no background in education a two-day course could do very little.

Anyway, for day two we were assigned to devise an activity to teach a small class of five people. We were given a general topic and a typology: I scored ‘mistakes’ and ‘game’. Game, me? Really? Are you telling me I need to devise a game that’ll only last five minutes and will teach a class about mistakes in my discipline?

Talk about a challenge.

I initially thought about doing one on teaching Italian and even asked for my friend M.‘s help but with a native speaker in my group it was just not feasible (and not fun).

But I wasn’t going to give up. I thought and thought while travelling home, and once I sat on my bed I started cutting up slips of paper and writing down stuff…

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Basically, this is how this very simple game worked: I started by telling them what philology is for; it is meant to reconstruct original texts through the mist of scribes’ mistakes. But how grossly mistaken could they be? Quite a bit, if you look at all the variety of ways one could write down a letter in Europe in the Middle Ages…
So basically, each player was assigned a letter and had to find five examples of how it could be written down among little cards I gave them (five cards were spare and didn’t match with any letter). They liked it!

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You know how much I love codicology over palaeography – but for the love of manuscripts, and in order to spread it, I sure can deal with it for five consecutive minutes…

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