The Atelier as Network: Illumination, Agency and the Production of Vernacular Literature in France (1320-1500).
Melek’s research considers the influence of illuminators of manuscript books upon literary reception in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Understanding illumination as a hermeneutic act, her research offers new insight into the relationships between medieval manuscripts, their makers and their reader-viewers by investigating the extent to which illuminators’ engagements with literature shaped interpretations of and responses to books as text-objects.
Melek’s current project at the John Rylands examines fifteenth-century Old French manuscripts housed in the library’s Special Collections. By examining these manuscripts alongside other copies of the textual/visual material in question, her research gauges the extent to which earlier illuminators’ imag(in)ing of certain characters, scenes and events created a precedent for these later copies.
In particular, her project focusses on manuscripts produced in the Montbaston Atelier, a book-making workshop active in Paris in the mid-fourteenth century (c. 1330-c.1360), and argues that the Atelier developed an artistic legacy that indelibly influenced the course of medieval manuscript production in Paris and elsewhere in France and England.