Melek Karatas (KCL) - 2017-18 Students

Illuminating Women: female agency and experience in the fourteenth-century bookmaking atelier

My research examines the work of female manuscript illuminators in late medieval France and investigates their influence on literary outputs of this period. By arguing that the work of illuminators was the product of agentic expression as opposed to cliched iconography or a practical solution to high commercial demand, my thesis puts forward a case for female agency within medieval manuscript cultures. My project offers an original approach to the subject by focussing on the work of lesser known individuals. It also considers the work of female illuminators within the wider context of female genealogies and the medieval book by examining teacher/child and patron/author relationships forged within the bookmaking process. My research will add to the existing discourse on the study of feminine agency in the medieval book by veering away from a purely text-based perspective on the topic by adopting an interdisciplinary approach drawing on tenets of art history, New Philology and book history.

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