Dotting the ‘i’ in Medieval Manuscripts

Singling out the i‘s, especially when they appear in a series of minims, is a well-known aspect of Gothic manuscripts. However, little attention has been paid to the morphology of the “dots”. The present research explores an extensive corpus of manuscripts (ss. XIII-XV) in an attempt to assess whether such morphological variation is systematic, and chronologically or geographically determined. Can the shapes of “dots” on the i‘s provide a criterion for dating and localising manuscripts?

With the support of research assistants, MA students Carmen Oanea and Andrei Crișan, Adrian Papahagi has analysed over 2000 Gothic manuscripts in search of an answer. The results will be presented at the International Medieval Congress on 7 July 2021.

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