The project Poetry from the margins. Literary, linguistic, philological and cultural-historical analysis of a new corpus of Byzantine book epigrams (800-1453) bid builds on a previous project of the same team, funded by the Hercules Foundation of the Flemish Government (call 2009).
The previous grant has allowed us to set up a database containing metrical paratexts from medieval Greek manuscripts. This ‘Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams’ (DBBE), is scheduled to be online and open to the academic community by the beginning of 2015, and will contain some 8,000 epigrams from about 4,000 manuscripts, retrieved mainly from catalogues and scholarly publications.
The importance of this ‘marginal poetry’ for several fields of scholarship is obvious. These texts are direct expressions of an evolving cultural identity, historical consciousness, literary taste, of political debates, religious feelings, and existential hope, doubts, or fear. At the same time, they are direct witnesses of metrical forms and linguistic registers that are more natural and flexible than the strongly regulated ‘standard’ literature around which they are to be found.
The Poetry in the Margin project aims to integrate, inspired by recent trends in manuscript studies, several disciplines that are all connected to the study of books in a broad sense: literary studies, linguistics, philology, and cultural history. The promoters of the proposal come from these four fields.