Narrative and Translation in New York Public Library Spencer Collection ms. 22 and Related Manuscripts
Late medieval audiences read the Bible in different languages, including the language of pictorial narrative. Narrative picture Bibles presented their stories linearly, and unlike the popular Bible moralisée manuscripts, they contained little to no typology, theological references, or moralizing commentary. This paper focuses on two intimately related manuscripts—a late twelfth-century Spanish narrative picture Bible produced for Sancho el Fuerte of Navarre (Amiens, B.m. ms. 108) and a fourteenth-century, stylistically-updated version of the same visual narrative (New York Public Library, Spencer 22). With a focus on the relationship between Sancho's Bible and Spencer 22, I examine the genre of narrative picture Bibles and the role of the pictorial translator in the image-to-image translation of visual narrative from Romanesque Spain to Gothic France. This discussion is part of a larger dissertation project that examines the transfer of narrative content in written and visual texts, the variations on literacy that supported these conventions for medieval readers, and the reception of biblical visual narrative in fourteenth-century France.