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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

October 09, 1994|Susan Reynolds

A HISTORY OF ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS by Christopher de Hamel. (Phaidon: $49.95) De Hamel is head of the Western Manuscripts department at Sotheby's in London. In this book he has provided a general introduction on the subject of book-making since the Dark Ages. It is divided into sections on the primary book buyers of each period: missionaries, emperors, monks, students, aristocrats, everybody (the fabulous 15th Century), priests and collectors. The illustrations are vivid and graphically inspiring. On this page: selections from the "Gospels of Otto III" (c. 998), a portrait of the monk Eadwine (mid-12th Century), a page from a bestiary (1187), a page from a book of hours (early 16th Century). Above, a page from "The Manasse Codex," a manuscript of poems and love songs from Zurich (early 14th Century), which shows our hero Kristan von Hamle visiting his lover. Some things never change.

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