This paper charts the background of the medieval bestseller, the illuminated and illustrated “Book of Hours” and measures its worth as social status indicators.
This paper explores the phenomena of perhaps the first European best sellers. The medieval “Book of Hours” was the first book to reach the bookcases of the people. Fundamentally a religious primer, the sumptuously illustrated and illuminated “Book of Hours” served to both reinforce the spiritual wealth of the noble classes and to act as an indicator of personal wealth. This paper examines how the demise of the “Book of Hours” was tolled by the automated printing press, thus giving weight to the idea that the Middle Ages laid great store in the opulent, the visual and the aesthetically precious.
“Modern man lives in a world where the word is king. Information, both fiction and non-fiction reaches its audience in a growing number of formats. Our libraries are full of printed, cloth-bound books which share space with paperbacks and jostle for attention with computer monitors offering the wealth of the internet to interested surfers. People read paperbacks on the train, plane and in their lunch breaks. Our newspapers bristle with world events, humor, fashion, religion and “How-To” articles. Information is there for the taking. Medieval man, however, had far fewer media options with which to avail himself. His sources were scarce. He may have learnt news and skills from his neighbor. He may have gained an insight into religious expectations from sculpted Tympana and church friezes. Middle Age man’s options were limited due to the scarcity and cost of the written word. For these were the days before the printing press, when books were handmade; each one painstakingly lettered by a calligraphist, with possible illustrations, marginalia and illuminations. These were the days when books were the province of the wealthy. It was into this arena that the Books of Hours was born. For the noble classes, the ownership of such a volume satisfied not only a laity desire for spiritual fulfillment, but also an opportunity to display conspicuous proof of the owner’s social status.”
“Characters don’t exist in a vacuum”
Find three new characters introduced to you in The WireS eason Two. Write three short character descriptions for them (much like the ones in The Wire – Bible). Then address Context in three areas: Cultural Influence, Historical Period, and Location. How are these characters shaped by each? How do you know? Please use specific examples referencing what would be either dialogue or action descriptions. Use the first half of the season to reference.
Track the story arcs of these three characters through the first half of the season. Make your predictions about their season ends.