- Cambridge, Open Book Publishers, 2019 233x156 mm. XVI, 356 pp. with col. ill. Wrappers.
In this ingenious study, Kathryn Rudy takes the reader on a journey to trace the birth, life and afterlife of a Netherlandish book of hours made in 1500. Image, Knife, and Gluepot painstakingly reconstructs the process by which this manuscript was created and discusses its significance as a text at the forefront of fifteenth-century book production, when the invention of mechanically-produced images led to the creation of new multimedia objects. Rudy then travels to the nineteenth century to examine the phenomenon of manuscript books being pillaged for their prints and drawings: she has diligently tracked down the dismembered parts of this book of hours for the first time. Image, Knife, and Gluepot also documents Rudy’s twenty-first-century research process, as she hunts through archives while grappling with the logistics and occasionally the limits of academic research.
This is a timely volume, focusing on questions of materiality at the forefront of medieval and literary studies. Beautifully illustrated throughout, its use of original material and its striking interdisciplinary approach, combining book and art history, make it a significant academic achievement.
Image, Knife, and Gluepot is a valuable text for any scholar in the fields of medieval studies, the history of early books and publishing, cultural history or material culture. Written in Rudy’s inimitable style, it will also be rewarding for any student enrolled in a course on manuscript production, as well as non-specialists interested in the afterlives of manuscripts and prints.