Jennifer R. Borland

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20092010 Forum on Connections

Jennifer R. Borland

PhD, Stanford

Manuscripts on the Move: Medieval Medicine, Artistic Exchange, and the Régime du corps

In the Middle Ages, the fluctuating boundaries between cultures, languages, and geographical regions were regularly transgressed by cross-cultural exchanges of all kinds. This study focuses on one particularly well-traveled medical text that demonstrates such exchange. The thirteenth-century Régime du corps (“Regimen of the Body”) was a popular health guide that survives in over sixty manuscripts, spanning multiple languages and contexts. Ranging from luxurious elite manuscripts to more modest productions, these books represent the convergences of Western and Arabic scientific traditions with popular healing practices, literature and religious belief. My research focuses on four illustrated versions of the Régime not only to explore these manuscripts’ audiences and their commentaries on the body, but also to illuminate how medieval visual, textual and cultural content was absorbed and combined through circulation and appropriation. Ultimately, such intersections between science and visual culture contribute to the recognition of medieval Europe itself as an infinitely diverse and mutable construct.