The 13th-century Dominican, Vincent of Beauvais is unusual in describing the paratext of his Speculum maius in detail. His paratext, which takes advantage of all of the tools in the scholastic toolbox, is not only authorial, but an integral and important part of the work. He names his work Speculum because it will help his readers to see his subject matter which otherwise is so enormous, so far beyond their scope as to be invisible. Guided by the visual articulation of his works, his readers may see writ small, that which God wrote large.
The relation between text and illumination in manuscripts has often been discussed: while texts, e.g. the Revelation of St. John (the ‘Apocalypse’) are developed and rewritten in an exegesis that is full of its own symbolic language and further implications, the accompanying illuminations regularly follow an own, mostly stable iconographic tradition, which is often not related to ‘its’ text. There are exceptions to this rule, e.g. the apocalypse commentary of Alexander of Bremen (1249-50) that is part of a Franciscan tradition and executes an extraordinarily explicit identification of present historical events and persons with the protagonists of the Revelation. The miniatures in 13th and 14th century manuscripts of Alexander’s commentary illuminate and enrich the commentary even further. The fact that in this case as in a few others we are dealing with exceptions lets us think about the status of illuminations as the ‘other’ text in general.
Hartmann Schedel’s 1493 World Chronicle provides an account of events from the beginning of the world until its very end. However, while the illustrated pages function in chronological succession, the initial index facilitates an anachronistic access to individual articles within the eschatological whole. What effect do these different temporal approaches have on ‘the world in the book’; in what ways is the work a composition of various times? Touching on medial and narratological aspects, the paper analyses temporalities of the German vernacular Nuremberg Chronicle in order to discuss temporal Otherness and our perception of the Other in time.