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Document Details :
Title: The Disorder of Operations
Subtitle: Illuminators, Scribes, and John Gower's Confessio Amantis
Author(s): DRIMMER, Sonja
Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Date: 2017
This article proposes a new model for examining illuminated manuscripts of Middle English literature. While the standard operating procedure for manuscript production involved the inscription or copying of text prior to illumination, the reality was at times messier. I examine a number of episodes in illuminated manuscripts of Middle English verse by John Gower which illustrate indecision and hesitation on the part of both scribes and illuminators. Not only did both change their minds in the middle of their work, but there is ample codicological evidence of scribes who revised texts in anticipation of the images that would be provided and illuminators pressed into the service of accommodating altered plans. This argument complicates the unidirectional model of visual translation, whereby scribes write out text to which illuminators respond. Instead, manuscripts leave traces of the overdetermined acts behind their production by multiple individuals as well as the circuits of interaction that run contrary to the mechanical order of operations in manuscript production.