A Curator's Perspective: Communities in Communication, July-December 2014
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As with any exhibition, intellectual and practical concerns combined to shape Communities in Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Low Countries, 1450-1530. In practical terms, I was keen to showcase the substantial holdings of the John Rylands Library from and about this dynamic culture. The corpus has been built up over more than a century: one manuscript, French MS 144, was acquired as recently as 1997.1 Yet libraries and users worldwide can easily underestimate how much material relates to the Low Countries. Catalogues invariably classify documents by language and/or medium; a practice exemplified by the very shelfmark of French MS 144, and which obscures the connections between the cultural products of a region where books were produced in Dutch, French, English, and Latin, and in both manuscript and print.2 Communities in Communication was conceived partly to counter this tendency towards fragmentation.
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