Medieval History, Illuminated: Book Historian Erik Kwakkel Uncovers the Past Through Books


At Medieval Books, book historian Erik Kwakkel brings the world of medieval manuscripts to life. Erik is a lecturer at Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, and blogs about this specialized topic in fresh ways. His posts appeal to academics and experts in the field, but also general readers intrigued by his commentary, discoveries, and parallels between medieval and modern times. Here, he talks about a day in the life of a medieval book historian, the benefits of blogging, and getting people excited about history.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Erik Kwakkel Photo of Erik Kwakkel by P.H.J.W. Schipper.

First, I bring the kids to school, and the rest of the day evolves around medieval books. I study most through digital images — how different my field has become over the past decade, with all these wonderful online image databases! The objects I’m interested in are…

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