Podcast - Episode 23: "Touching the Book" with Kathryn Rudy

September 10, 2021

Today, Dr. Kathryn Rudy speaks with host Sandra Hindman on a fascinating range of topics related to “touching” the book as well as the innovative techniques she has developed in her forensic approach to the study of manuscripts. Kathryn Rudy pioneered the use of the densitometer to measure the grime that original readers deposited in their books, but today she delves even further into her creative application of additional techniques such as RAK (Raking light) technologies to solve problems posed by “big dirty books” and the grubby face stains in books of hours. 

Kathryn Rudy is a manuscript historian at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Art History, and a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the University of Toronto. She has held research, teaching, and curatorial positions in the US, the UK, Canada, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Her research concentrates on the reception and original function of manuscripts, especially those manufactured in the Low Countries. She is currently developing new ways to track and measure user response of late medieval manuscripts. Dr. Rudy is the author of six books, including Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print (Open Book Publishers, 2019); Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2017); Piety in Pieces: How medieval readers customized their manuscripts (Open Book Publishers, 2016); and Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books(Yale University Press, 2015). 


Kathryn M. Rudy, "Dirty Books: Quantifying Patterns of Use in Medieval Manuscripts Using a Densitometer," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 2:1-2 (Summer 2010) https://jhna.org/articles/dirty-books-quantifying-patterns-of-use-medieval-manuscripts-using-a-densitometer/ 

“How the Grand Obituary of Notre-Dame (Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 5185 CC) was Touched, Kissed, and Handled” Kathryn Rudy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixugb35bfcA 

“How medieval users handled their manuscripts” Professor Kathryn Rudy, Inaugural Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3FYjWov0gM

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