James H. Thomason Library

English 420 Course Guide: Love & Death in the Middle Ages
Reference Sources

Book of Hours. Use of Bourges. c. 1470-1480 Death with skulls of victims. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Image source: ARTstor Image Collection

  Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions,Guides
  Style Guides
Locating Books
  PASCAL Catalog
  WorldCat and Interlibrary Loans (ILL)
Locating Articles & Criticism
  Reference Sources & Criticism
  Journal Articles, Essays, Book Chapters
  Key Journals
  Journal Finder
Specific Works & Themes
  Chanson de Roland, Epic and Heroic
  Arthurian Romance, Courtly Love
  Divine Comedy, Visions & Afterlife
Internet Resources
  General Medieval Literature Sources
  Image Databases

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Reference Sources:    

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, Guides

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For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:

The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Blackwell, 1999.  
Main Level, Reference:
R 942.01 B568B

Cambridge Guide to Literature in English [CREDO Reference], Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006.  Authoritative and international survey of world literature in English with entries on eras, theses, genres and critical terms, authors, poems, novels, literary journals and plays.

Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature [CREDO Reference], Continuum International, 2006.   
A comprehensive guide to all British literature. Includes entries for the Gawain Poet, Layamon’s Brut, Middle English, etc.

The Dante Encyclopedia [EBSCO eBook Collection]. Richard Lansing, editor. Garland Pub., 2000.

We alo have PRINT EDITION, Main Level, Reference: R 851.1 D235D


A Dictionary of Literary Symbols [CREDO Reference], Cambridge University Press, 2003.  

Print edition also available, Main Level, Reference: R 809.915 F373D [2000 ed.]   

The first dictionary of symbols to be based on literature, rather than "universal" psychological archetypes, myths, or esoterica. Concentrates on English literature, but its entries range widely from the Bible and classical authors to the twentieth century, taking in American and European literatures. 

Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Joseph R. Strayer, editor, Scribner, c1982-c1989.

Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 D561D [13 vols, suppl.]

  Jacket image

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, Arthur Cotterell, ed., Mayflower Books, 1980.
Main Level, Reference:
R 930.03 En19E

Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature [CREDO Reference], Robert Thomas Lambdin and Laura Cooner Lambdin, eds. Greenwood Press, 2000.

While the volume is devoted primarily to the literature of medieval England, its multicultural scope also encompasses Islamic, Mongolian, Celtic, Hispanic, Italian, Russian, and Germanic works.

Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World, Pam J. Crabtree, ed. Facts on File, 2008.

Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 En19E2 [4 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Andre Vauchez, ed., Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.
Main Level, Reference:
 R 909.07 En19E [2 vols]

European Writers, Volumes 1- 2: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Scribner, 1983.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.894 Eu74E

Also available online via Literature Resource Center and Literature Resources from Gale

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, Johns Hopkins, 2005.
Main Level, Reference: R 801.950904 J62J
This informative, reliable introduction to criticism and literary theory is for those with interest in theoretical issues but without specialized knowledge. Entries contain cross references, see also, and a bibliography with selected primary and secondary sources. Helpful indexes of Names and Topics in back of volume. Includes entries for medieval theory & criticism; Dante Alighieri; and Boccaccio, Giovanni.

Medieval England: An Encyclopedia, Paul E. Szarmach, ed., Garland Pub., 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 942 M468M

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, William W. Kibler, ed. Garland Pub., 1995. 
Main Level, Reference: 
R 944.003 M468M

Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell: A Sourcebook, Garland Pub., 1993. 

Main Level, Reference: R 016.2482 G168M 

The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopaedia, H.R. Loyn, ed. Thames and Hudson, 1989. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 909.07 M584M

The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, Norris J. Lacy, ed. Garland Pub., 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.93351 N42N

The Oxford Companion to English Literature [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford Univ. Press, 2007.
Also available in 2000 print edition: Main Level Reference: R 820.9 Ox2O


Biography--Reference Sources   back to top

Gale Biography in Context

Biography in Context combines Gale biographies with related full-text articles from magazines and newspapers, thousands of images, and links to vetted websites. Search for current or historic figures based on name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth/death dates and places, or gender, as well as keyword and full text.

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale] Pascal Logo
Search here for your author or use advanced search criteria to compile a list of authors by type. Contains biographical information from Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as British Writers [Main Level, Reference: R 820.9 B777B] and thirteen Scribner print sources.

Style Guides   back to top

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Modern Language Association, 2009.
Main Level, Reference: Ready Reference Shelf or R 808.02 M72M

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Locating Books   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, using last name first for modern names.

  Loomis, Roger Sherman [as AUTHOR]  (modern name)  

Geoffrey Of Monmouth Bishop Of St Asaph [as AUTHOR]


Dante Alighieri [as AUTHOR]

  Dante Alighieri  [as SUBJECT]  

Dante Alighieri 1265 1321 Criticism And Interpretation [as SUBJECT]

  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to the Medieval literature:

Civilization, Medieval

  Rhetoric, Medieval  
  Civilization, Medieval, In Literature  
  Courtly Love In Literature  
  Gawain And The Grene Knight  
  Knights And Knighthood In Literature  
  Arthurian Romances--History And Criticism  
  Death--Religious Aspects--Christianity--History Of Doctrines-- Middle Ages 600-1500 (NOTE: This subject heading is not used in ThomCat--search link is for PASCAL catalog)  
  • Materials relevant to the study of Medieval literature may also be found by specifying the country of origin, era, literary genre, or the material type in which you are interested, or by identifying broader themes in literature.
  Humanism History  
  Scholasticism History  
  Purgatory--History of Doctrines  
  Epic Poetry–History and Criticism  

English literature--Middle English, 1100-1500--History and criticism

  French literature--To 1500--History and criticism  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words or phrases to narrow your search:
AND medieval literature

· Use OR between words to expand your search
medieval OR mediaeval OR middle ages

·When combining AND with OR terms,

use NESTING (parentheses) around "OR" terms

(women OR females) AND (medieval OR middle ages)

(song OR chanson) AND Roland

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or
expand a term:
arthur* = arthur, arthurian, arthur's, etc.

Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, other library catalogs & library databases

PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.


A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles & Criticism:   back to top
Reference Sources & Criticism    


Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale] Pascal Logo
Biographical, bibliographical and contextual information from the Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as full-text criticism from the Contemporary Literary Criticism Select database. Contains full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals, critical essays, author biographies, and definitions of literary terms from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Includes full-text coverage of the monographic series Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism.

Scribner Writer's Series
Full-text articles on writers and literary genres drawn from 13 acclaimed Scribner print series. Each signed article was written by a noted scholar and concludes with a bibliography of primary and secondary sources for further study.

Journal Articles, Essays, Book Chapters back to top

MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost] Pascal Logo
Indexes critical literary and language scholarship and provides access to journals and serials published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Nearly 45,000 records are added annually.

Academic Search Premier - Humanities[EBSCOhost] Pascal Logo
Search this subset of full text peer-reviewed humanities journals indexed in Academic Search Premier.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Iter's bibliography includes literature pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700). Citations for books, journal material (articles, reviews, review articles, bibliographies, catalogues, abstracts and discographies) are included, as are citations for dissertation abstracts, and essays in books (including entries in conference proceedings, festschriften, encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues).  

Arts & Sciences Collections I, II, & III contain an archive of over 350 full-text journals which are searchable through JSTOR or accessible through Journal Finder, which guides the user to full-text articles available at Thomason Library. The collections include journals in economics, history, political science, sociology, and humanities. This archive covers the full run of journals from the first issue of volume one; however, the most current three to five year issues of the journals are not available as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection  
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Specific Works and Themes    
Chanson de Roland, Epic & Heroic   back to top

The Sense of the "Song of Roland, Cook, R. F., 1987.

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The Song of Roland: Formulaic Syle and Poetic Craft, Duggan, J.J., 1973.
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PASCAL Delivers

The Song of Roland. Translated, with commentary, by Frederick Goldin, 1978.

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The Ethos of the Song of Roland, Jones, G. F,1963.

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La Chanson de Roland, LeGentil, Pierre, Harvard University Press, 1969.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 841.1 G289C

Formulaic Diction and Thematic Composition in the Chanson de Roland, Nichols, S. G., 1961.
Request this title through PASCAL Delivers


Chartres Cathedral: Song of Roland. Stained Glass.   ARTstor Image Collection.

Textual Situations: Three Medieval Manuscripts and Their Readers, Taylor, Andrew, U. of Penn. Press, 2002.

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Reading the Song of Roland, Vance, E., Prentice-Hall, 1970.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 841.1 V277R

Arthurian Romance, Courtly Love   back to top

The Arthur of the English: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval English Life and Literature
, W. R. J. Barron, ed., University of Wales Press, 2001. 
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
809.93351 Ar77A

Arthurian Women: A Casebook, Thelma S. Fenster, ed., Garland Pub., 1996.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 809.93352042 Ar78A

A Companion to the Gawain Poet, Derek Brewer and Jonathan Gibson, eds., D. S. Brewer Pub., 1997.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
821.109 C738C

Andreas and the Ambiguity of Courtly Love, Cherchi, Paolo, Univ. of Toronto Press, 1994.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
849.1209 C422A

Le Courant Realiste dans le Roman Courtois en France au Moyen Age, Fourrier, A., 1960.

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Irony in the Medieval Romance, Green, D. H., 1979.

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Approaches to Medieval Romance,

Yale French Studies 51 (1974). Haidu, P.,

issue editor.   

Click here
to view the entire issue of this journal.


In Pursuit of Perfection: Courtly Love in Medieval Literature: A Collaborative Study, Ferrante, Economou, and Goldin, eds., Kennikat Press, 1975.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
809.14 F411I

Sovereign Fantasies: Arthurian Romance and the Making of Britain, Ingham, Patricia Clare, U. of Penn. Press, 2001.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
809.93351 In4S 

Ennobling Love: In Search of a Lost Sensibility, Jaeger, C. S., U. of Penn. Press, 1999.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
809.93354 J175E 

Misogyny and Idealization in the Courtly Romance, Kahn-Blumstein, A., 1977.
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The Art of Medieval French Romance, Kelly, D., 1992.
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Ideal und Wirklichkeit in der Hofischen Epik, Kohler, E., 1956. 
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PASCAL Delivers

The Arthurian Handbook, Lacy and Ashe, Garland Pub., 1997.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 809.93351 L119A 

Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History, Loomis, A. S., ed., 1959.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 809.93 L873A

The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend, Lupack, Alan, Oxford University Press, 2005. 
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
 809.93351 L973O


Arthurian Romance: Seven Essays, Owen, D. D. R., ed., 1970. 
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PASCAL Delivers

Making of the Middle Ages, Southern, R. W., Yale University Press, 1959.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
940.1 So88M 

The Shape of the Round Table: Structure of Middle High German Arthurian Romance, Schultz, J. A., 1983.
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PASCAL Delivers

Medieval Romance: Themes and Approaches, Stevens, John, 1973. Request this title through PASCAL Delivers

Twentieth Century Interpretations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall, 1968.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
821.1 F83T

The Rise of Romance, Vinaver, E.,1971.
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Arthurian Romance and Gender, Wolfzettel, F., ed., 1995.
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Arthurian Romance: A Short IntroductionPearsall, D., Blackwell Publishers, 2003.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
809.93351 P316A


The Medieval World: Europe, 1100-1350, Heer, F., World Pub.Co, 1962.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 940.17 H36M   
Includes chapter “Courtly Love and Courtly Literature.”

 Sir Gawain and the Classical Tradition: Essays on the Ancient Antecedents, E. L.Risden, ed., McFarland & Co., 2006.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 821.1 Si76S2 



Guillaume de Machaut: Works: ms. Fr. 1586, fol. 21: The Lover Sings as His Lady Dances

Guillaume de Machaut: Works: ms. Fr. 1586, fol. 28v: Courtly scene

Lancelot cycle, Branches 3, 4 and 5. Folio #: fol. 077r. The Vulgate Version of the Arthurian Romances, vol. 6, 3.Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Images from: ARTstor Image





Divine Comedy, Visions & Afterlife   back to top


Divine Comedy. 14th Century.  Bodleian Library, U. of Oxford.     Left: p.145; Above: p.147.

Image source:ARTstor Image Collection

Western Attitudes toward Death: From the Middle Ages to the Present, Aries, Phillipe, Translated by Patricia M. Ranum, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 128.5 Ar42W

Prophets of Heaven and Hell: Virgil, Dante, Milton, Goethe: An Introductory Essay, Buxton, C. G., 1969. Request this title through PASCAL Delivers

Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336, Bynum, Caroline Walker, 1995.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 236.8 B995R

Last Things: Death and the Apocalypse in the Middle Ages, Bynum & Freedman, eds., 2000.
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PASCAL Delivers

Dante: A Collection of Critical Essays, Freccero, John, Prentice-Hall, 1965.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
851.1 F871D

Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante, Eileen Gardiner, ed., Italica Press, 1989.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 236.24 V825V

Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages, Geary, Patrick, 1994. 
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Companion to the Divine Comedy, Grandgent, C. H., 1975. 
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The Birth of Purgatory, Le Goff, Jacques, Arthur Goldhammer, trans., U. of Chicago Press, 1984.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 236.509 L525B

Death and Purgatory in the Middle English Didactic Poetry, Matsuda, Takami, 1997.
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Key Journals   back to top


Essays in Medieval Studies

Each volume has had a thematic focus based on the theme or topic of the annual meeting of Illinois Medieval Assoc. 

Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe Focuses on North-western Europe during the early medieval period (from the early 4th through 13th centuries).  Seeks to foster dialogue between all scholars of this period across ethnic and disciplinary boundaries, including—but not limited to—history, archaeology, and literature pertaining to the period.

Medieval Studies 

The annual journal published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. The journal was established in 1939 and from the outset its purpose has been the publication of research on the Middle Ages by scholars throughout the world, particularly research involving unedited manuscript and archival material. Most volumes are divided into three sections: “Texts ” includes extensive editions with substantial introductions; “Articles” includes studies based on unedited or edited documents and texts and also includes studies of other monuments of medieval culture; “Mediaevalia” consists of notices or short articles on specific documents or topics. 

Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England


Speculum: A Journal of Mediæval Studies   Publishes articles and book reviews on any and all aspects of the Middle Ages, including art, history, literature, philosophy and theology, music, science, law, and economics.


Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

ELH (English Literary History)
Superior studies interpreting the conditions affecting major works in English and American literature while publishing articles with an intelligent mix of historical, critical, and theoretical concerns.

Studies in English Literature
Focuses on four fields of British Literature which rotate quarterly as follows: Winter-English Renaissance, Spring - Tudor and Stuart Drama, Summer-Restoration and Eighteenth Century, and Autumn - Nineteenth Century with historical and critical essays which contribute to the understanding of English Literature.

Journal Finder   back to top


Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Library article databases are inter-connected by Journal Finder, which will lead you to the full-text of an article when available.


Internet Resources   back to top
General Sources    


Dante's Inferno Test When you need a break, take the test.

The Digital Dante Text, commentaries, images.

Douay-Rheims Bible  Closest approximation of the medieval Vulgate Bible, which was in Latin.

Luminarium's Gawain Site  Texts, essays, links to other resources.

Middle English Compendium Bibliography, Middle English Dictionary, and more


The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester Bibliographies, Images, and Links to other Arthurian resources.

TEAMS Middle English Texts Another resource from the University of Rochester/Camelot Project. The goal of TEAMS is "to make available to teachers and students texts which occupy an important place in the literary and cultural canon but which have not been readily available in student editions." In addition to the Middle English texts, TEAMS also provides commentaries (some of which are quite extensive) and bibliographies.

Princeton Dante Project Text, Commentary, Images.

The Voice of the Shuttle: Anglo Saxon and Medieval  [Alan Liu, UC Santa Barbara]
An extensive annotated guide to Romanticism-related resources on the Internet, arranged by category.

Image Databases

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ARTstor  ARTstor is a digital library of nearly one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes.

Bridgeman Art Library Archive  [CREDO Reference] Archive of images drawn from collections throughout the world. Coverage includes fine art, design, antiques, maps, architecture, furniture, glass, ceramics, and anthropological artifacts



  ABOVE: Divine comedy, with proemium by Jacopo Alighieri.c.1400. Detail, Inferno(Hell). Dante, Virgil and the three beasts of the wood. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Source: ARTstor Image Database.

  RIGHT: [Italian School] Dante and the Souls Transformed into Birds, from 'The Divine Comedy.'14th Century  Biblioteca Marciana, Venice. Source: Bridgeman Art Library.


Dante and the Souls Transformed into Birds, from 'The Divine Comedy'



Mirror Case: Courtly Love. Ivory,  14th C. Image source: ARTstor Image Database.



A Burial Procession Artist: Jean Colombe (1469).Ms Lat. Q.v.I.126. from the 'Book of Hours of Louis d'Orleans. National Library, St. Petersburg. Source: Bridgeman Art Library.


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Oxford Arthurian Society  The Oxford Arthurian Society was founded in 1982 to explore the figure of King Arthur in history, literature and legend. Site includes a selection of online articles from the Oxford Arthurian Society magazine, Ceridwen's Cauldron.

Southeastern Medieval Association (SEMA) 

The mission of the Southeastern Medieval Association (SEMA) is to promote the study and enjoyment of the Middle Ages by students at every level of expertise. Professional and independent scholars from various branches of medieval studies--history, arts, science, philosophy, archaeology, paleography, theology, language, and literatures--make the Association's annual meeting a forum for scholarly and pedagogical growth within those disciplines as well as a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. Members publish their research in the Association's refereed journal, Medieval Perspectives.


Get Help  

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Stop by the
Reference Desk

Teresa Inman 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


Hours: 8.30 am - 10:00 pm

for research questions & assistance. Personal appointments also available.



Limbourg Brothers Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry: May.   (circa 1411/13-1416). Repository:

Musée Condé, Chantilly, France. Image source: ARTstor Image Collection.



Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry: ms. 65 fol. 90v: Office of the Dead: Horseman of death c.1411-16 Repository: Musée Condé ARTstor Image Collection

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