Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

PODness Fun with Books of Hours

First of all, thanks to Shrine of the Holy Whapping for explaining what POD stands for and where it came from. I understood the definition by context, but didn't get the rest.

Now, onward. As you know, on this blog I amuse myself by pointing out that the Council of Trent is just as modern as Vatican II. (We've got to get back to the good ol' medieval days, mwhahaha!) So, a couple of interesting sites.

Medieval General Intercessions features some really fascinating info and Mass prayers, as well as the full text and large chunks of translation of a rhymed prayer to Mary written by Christine d'Pisan. And that's just one page of this liturgical scholar's site.

The Hypertext Book of Hours presents the text (and translation of Latin bits) of a medieval English book of hours. You can download the whole thing and use it to pray at home. It can also be used as a cheatsheet for other online medieval books of hours, such as The Artz Hours, Les Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry, and Brandeis' Flemish book of hours (which features surprisingly readable medieval calligraphy, btw). So now you can be even more POD than the folks who pray the normal Daily Office over at (mwhahaha!) and learn some nifty new old prayers, too.

Seriously, though, this throws a very different light on the Books of Hours, both as prayerbooks and art objects. It's worth knowing that the illustrations of the Annunciation are accompanied with a prayer to "open my lips" so one can "announce" the Good News. The juxtaposition of the following "open my lips" prayers with moments in Christ's life is even more striking. All the calendar pages (like those in the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry) have always been beautiful, but then, they have to be because otherwise they're intrinsically kinda boring; we already know the Church Year. It's the interesting bits that I haven't known anything about before.

More Books of Hours, mostly showing illo pages only: Wellesley (5 mss), Spalding U, Willamette, U of Pittsburgh, Kirby I at Claremont, an Angers-use ms, Leaves of Gold (a Books of Hours art exhibition), a strewn-border ms, a Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis, and Queen Isabella's Book of Hours.

There are a lot more illustrations out there. Also people who will sell you single pages of Books of Hours. (I don't like this practice much more than I like people who frame magazine and comic covers and throw away the rest. Even if the rest is in pretty bad shape, it all ought to stay more or less in the same place.)

Think I've justified the "Catholic" part of my blog description now?


Post a Comment

<< Home