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  • Lecture

Cognitive Geometries: Using Diagrams in the Middle Ages

Mary J. Carruthers, Professor of Literature Emeritus, New York University

Cognitive Geometries explores the close relationships in medieval creative practice among geometric shapes, meditation, and the human ability to create original works.

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March 20, 21, and 23, 2017. Lectures begin 5:30pm @ Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center
Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
The Tower of Wisdom, woodcut on paper, made in Germany ca. 1475. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. M. 316r.

Focusing on materials crafted in the twelfth century, chiefly on the basis of Biblical texts, and then disseminated widely during the thirteenth century, each lecture investigates the fundamental cognitive insight of medieval diagram makers: that shape and pattern not only envision what we already know but also invite us to discover surprising logical relationships that can provoke our thinking in new ways.

Schedule and Recordings

Event Series

Man standing in front of wall of bookshelves holding open book

The A.S.W. Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography

The Rosenbach Lectures are the longest continuing series of bibliographical lectureships in the United States. Rosenbach Fellows typically present three lectures over a period of one-two weeks.

Featured image: "The Tower of Wisdom", woodcut on paper, made in Germany ca. 1475. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. M. 316r.