12:30 PM

Book Launch: “From the Material to the Mystical in Late Medieval Piety” by Racha Kirakosian

Racha Kirakosian presents her new book at a lunch event at HIAS:

The German mystic Gertrude the Great of Helfta (c.1256–1301) is a globally venerated saint who is still central to the Sacred Heart Devotion. Her visions were first recorded in Latin, and they inspired generations of readers in processes of creative rewriting. The vernacular copies of these redactions challenge the long-standing idea that translations do not bear the same literary or historical weight as the originals upon which they are based. In this study, Racha Kirakosian argues that manuscript transmission reveals how redactors serve as cultural agents. Examining the late medieval vernacular copies of Gertrude’s visions, she demonstrates how redactors recast textual materials, reflected changes in piety, and generated new forms of devotional practices. She also shows how these texts served as a bridge between material culture, in the form of textiles and book illumination, and mysticism. Kirakosian’s multi-faceted study is an important contribution to current debates on medieval manuscript culture, authorship, and translation as objects of study in their own right. Cambridge University Press

Peter Schmidt, professor in the Department of Art History at Universität Hamburg, introduces the book.

About the book

The number of participants is limited, please register at event@hias-hamburg.de.