Three new manuscripts added to Rose library

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library team proudly announces the addition of three new manuscripts to our digital library. These additions bring the total number of manuscripts up to 145. This new batch is especially interesting because they are owned by libraries outside of France–we have two new German manuscripts and one from Spain. Each of these were originally produced in France in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Our first new manuscript, BH Ms. 387 comes to us courtesy of the Bibliotèca Històrica of the Universitat de València.  With more than 160 beautiful miniatures, this manuscript is one of the most lavishly illustrated in the collection. Many of the illustrations span two columns in width. Heidrun Ost wrote an extensive essay about the illustrations in this manuscript. While it is not certain who commissioned the work, there is speculation that it was Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The style of illumination is similar to other manuscripts that the duke ordered for his collection. The Valencia Rose contains the usual text plus the “Testament de Jean de Meun”, the “Codicille de Jean de Meun”, and the “Articles de la Foy”.

The second new manuscript, Cod. gall. 80 is part of the collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. This 14th century manuscript has smaller and fewer miniatures than our Valencia example, but they are all in brilliant colors. In addition, there are many decorated initials on every page.

Finally we have Ham. 577, also from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. In addition to the text of the Roman de la Rose, this manuscript has a “mystery” section at the end. This section has many geometric illustrations, and does not appear to relate to the Rose. Can you help us with this? Please post a comment on this blog post if you can help with any information.

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the two libraries that supplied the images for these manuscripts. It is this type of community cooperation that enables us to continue to build this digital library.

“L’art d’aimer du Moyen Âge: Le Roman de la rose”

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library is currently being featured in an important exhibition called “L’art d’aimer du Moyen Âge: Le Roman de la rose” at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal in Paris. The exhibition began on 6 November 2012 and will close 13 February 2013. The exhibition displays around 100 manuscripts and a few printed editions.

The exposition is organized according to two approaches: telling the story literally via manuscript images that portray the narrative (featuring “Français 1574“), and allegorically, also using manuscript images illustrative of this important aspect of the work.  Panels of miniatures allow viewers to obtain a synthesis of the work’s different sections.

On January 18, 2013 there will be a day-long workshop in which a group of Roman de la Rose scholars will discuss the question “Why should one read the Roman de la Rose today?”.  Professor Stephen Nichols of the Johns Hopkins University will close the exhibition with a lecture about how and why digitization makes reading the Rose more meaningful today.

Portrait of Covoitise from Fr. 378

Finally, the newest issue (no. 42) of the journal “Art de l’enluminure” features two articles about the Roman de la Rose. The first article discusses Fr. 378 and Rothschild 2800 and the second covers Fr. 25526.  We are always interested in hearing about your Roman de la Rose scholarship, so please keep us informed via the “contact us” on the website. 

New image viewer supports mobile devices

The Roman de la Rose digital library has added a custom touch-enabled image viewer to support browsers without Flash. Mobile devices which lack Flash support, such as the iPad, iPhone, and some Android phones, can now fully use the site.

In order to use the new image viewer,  turn off Flash support in the left sidebar. Clicking on the “Flash” check box will switch between the new image viewer and the Flash image viewer. By default iPhones and iPads will have Flash support turned off.

The image viewer has been tested on most modern browsers and a number of mobile devices, but undoubtedly problems remain. Please send bug reports and feedback to Bug reports should include your browser name and version.

The new image viewer has three modes, thumbnail browser, page turner, and single image viewer.

General features:

  •  Touch and gesture support on mobile devices (iPhone/iPad, Android phones/tablets)
  •  Dynamically responds to browser resizing and orientation changes

Thumbnail browser

  • Only loads thumbnails being viewed
  • Click/tap to go to page turner

Page turner

  •  Swipe or use the mouse wheel to flip pages
  •  Click/tap to go to detailed image viewer
  •  A toolbar provides buttons for navigating through the manuscript.
    •  Typing in an image name (e.g., 35r) jumps to that image
  •  Due to layout issues, the annotation display has become a draggable dialog

Image Viewer

  • Tiles large images to support zoom/pan efficiently
  • Mouse wheel or pinch to change zoom
  • Tap/click in main image display to zoom in and center
  • Tap/click on thumbnail to move view
  • Drag thumbnail selection to move view
  • Drag to move main view
  • Toolbar allows click/tap to zoom in, zoom out, and reset the view.

Known issues

  • The page turner displays uncropped images when cropped images are available.
  • The help document needs to be updated

First update of the year

It has been a while since our last update, but at long last iPad and iPhone users can view manuscript images! A non-Flash image viewer has been added. Users can now switch between image viewers using the “Flash” check box on the left sidebar. A subsequent post will describe the new image viewer in detail.

New features:

  • Added a JavaScript image viewer as an alternate to the Flash based viewer.
  • User can switch between the Flash and JavaScript viewer
  • Detect iPhone/iPad as not having flash support
  • Update JavaScript viewer when orientation or browser size changes 

Content updates:

Bug fixes:

  • Scroll image descriptions to prevent them from being cut off.

New manuscript images available

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library has recently been updated with three new manuscripts from two German Libraries. This brings the total number of manuscripts on the site to 142! The three new manuscripts are:

  • A.B. 142 is a 14th century manuscript from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. This manuscript contains many especially nice miniatures and decorated initials.
  • Augsburg Cod. I.4.2 3 is a 14th century manuscript in the collection of the Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg. While this manuscript has only a few miniatures, it has many beautiful decorated initials.
  • Augsburg Cod. I.4.2. 4 is a 14th century manuscript fragment from the Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg.
In addition to the new manuscripts, we have corrected some typos in the transcription of Selden Supra 57. These corrections are from folio 6r.

Thierry Delcourt: in memoriam

Photo © Philippe Savouret

Thierry Delcourt: in memoriam

With profound regret we learned of the death of Thierry Delcourt, Director of the Department of Manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, on November 22.  The cause was brain cancer; he was 52 years old.

The Digital Library of Medieval Manuscripts at Johns Hopkins could not have had a better friend and collaborator than Thierry Delcourt. It is no exaggeration to say that without his vision and generosity, our site would not have the wealth of manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose it now contains.  

This is how it happened. In 2006, Winston Tabb, Dean of the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins, and I visited Thierry Delcourt, the newly appointed Director of Manuscripts, in his office on the Rue de Richelieu.  We had come to Paris in hopes of obtaining imaging rights to ten or twelve key Rose manuscripts in the BnF. When I explained our project, and showed him the site, Thierry smiled and asked if we wouldn’t rather have the image rights for all the Rose manuscripts in France!  Quickly calculating how much of a grant we would need to make this happen, we agreed that Hopkins would raise the necessary funds for the project, while the BnF would assume responsibility for the digital imaging of the 140+ publically-available Rose codices in France. And so began a wonderful collaboration born out of Thierry Delcourt’s visionary conception for the role of the BnF in the twenty-first century.

His vision grew naturally from his own training in and love for medieval French literature.  Trained as a paleographer-archivist at the prestigious École des Chartes in Paris, he specialized in manuscripts of the prose Tristan cycle, beginning with his thesis: Le Roman de Tristan en prose. Édition critique et commentaire de l’épisode du Château des Pucelles (1983). He subsequently published other books on the Prose Tristan, on Arthurian literature, bestiaries, crusade chronicles, and the tradition in France of early popular book formats.

Early in his career, Thierry Delcourt distinguished himself as an imaginative and entrepreneurial administrator both in the public and private sector. Appointed Conservator of the Audio-Visual Department at the BnF in 1983, he was recruited into the private sphere as a consultant in systems technology from 1989 to 1992, the year the BnF lured him back to his former post.  In 1995, he became director of the Municipal Library of Troyes, which, under his leadership, became one of the leading media centers in France…even, some feel, one of the most modern and innovative of its kind. In 2006, the BnF appointed him to the post he held until his death this week.  

Fate did not allow us to prolong our partnership with Thierry himself beyond five-and-a-half short, but wonderfully collegial years. With uncanny prescience, however, he leaves as a legacy an extraordinary team in the Department of Manuscripts and its Information Technology section at the BnF with whom we will continue to collaborate bien amicablement thanks to our shared memory of Thierry Delcourt.

Stephen G. Nichols                    November 25, 2011
Johns Hopkins University

Digital Philology: Call for Submissions

~ Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures ~

Call for Submissions, 2013 Open Issue

Digital Philology is a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of medieval vernacular texts and cultures. Founded by Stephen G. Nichols and Nadia R. Altschul, the journal aims to foster scholarship that crosses disciplines upsetting traditional fields of study, national boundaries and periodizations. Digital Philology also encourages both applied and theoretical research that engages with the digital humanities and shows why and how digital resources require new questions, new approaches, and yield radical results.

Beginning in 2012 Digital Philology will have two issues per year, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. One of the issues will be open to all submissions, while the other one will be guest-edited and revolve around a thematic axis.

Contributions may take the form of a scholarly essay or focus on the study of a particular manuscript. Articles must be written in English, follow the 3rd edition (2008) of the MLA style manual, and be between 5,000 and 7,000 words in length, including footnotes and list of works cited. Quotations in the main text in languages other than English should appear along with their English translation.

Digital Philology is welcoming submissions for its 2013 open issue. Inquiries and submissions (as a Word document attachment) should be sent to, addressed to the Managing Editor (Albert Lloret). Digital Philology will also publish manuscript studies and reviews of books and digital projects. Correspondence regarding manuscript studies may be addressed to Jeanette Patterson at Correspondence regarding digital projects and publications for review may be addressed to Timothy Stinson at

Editors and Editorial Board

Albert Lloret, Managing Editor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jeanette Patterson, Manuscript Studies Editor, Johns Hopkins University
Timothy Stinson, Review Editor, North Carolina State University
Nadia R. Altschul, Executive Editor, Johns Hopkins University

Stephen G. Nichols and Nadia R. Altschul, Founding Editors, Johns Hopkins University

Editorial Board

Tracy Adams, Auckland University
Benjamin Albritton, Stanford University
Nadia R. Altschul, Johns Hopkins University
R. Howard Bloch, Yale University
Kevin Brownlee, University of Pennsylvania
Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet, University of Paris, Sorbonne – Paris IV
Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto
Lucie Dolezalova, Charles University, Prague
Alexandra Gillespie, University of Toronto
Jeffrey Hamburger, Harvard University
Daniel Heller-Roazen, Princeton University
Sharon Kinoshita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joachim Küpper, Free University of Berlin
Deborah McGrady, University of Virginia
Christine McWebb, University of Waterloo
Stephen G. Nichols, Johns Hopkins University
Timothy Stinson, North Carolina State University
Lori Walters, Florida State University

Manuscript images temporarily unavailable

Due to a problem with the storage system, manuscript images are unavailable for viewing right now and have only been partially available for the last day.  The site is otherwise working.

We apologize for the downtime and hope to have images available again soon. Updates will be added to this post.

Update 1pm: Most ms images are available. Images from recently added ms should be available later today.

Update 4pm: The remaining images will be available in the next few hours.

New Rose manuscripts and other improvements

We have just updated the Roman de la Rose Digital Library with some exciting new developments. We are proud to announce the addition of three new manuscripts from various German libraries. The new manuscripts include:

  • Ms. lat. qu. 65 from the Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg in Frankfurt. This 14th century manuscript includes 14 miniatures.
  • Cod. gall. 17 from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. This mid-14th century Parisian manuscript is beautifully illustrated with 82 miniatures.
  • Cod. poet et Phil. 6 from the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart. This is a 15th century manuscript with 37 miniatures.

In addition to the three new manuscripts, we are making the following additions and changes to the site:

  • Updated manuscript description for Bodmer 79
  • Corrected the image tagging on the following: Walters 143 (105v), Arsenal 5209 (107r), and Chicago 1380 (102v). Each of these descriptions were changed from “Husband Foolishly Confides in Wife” to “Procreating Couple”.
  • Image tagging on Morgan 148, 162r moved to 162v.
  • Corrected numbering of flyleaves on Fr. 25526.
  • Missing links added to French-language home page.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions about the library. We hope that these additions and changes will enhance your research.