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Isabelle Boursier's Book of Hours, a Dismembered Manuscript from Mary Benson's Collection

In the new series "Dismembered Medieval Manuscripts: Biblioclasm and Digital Reconstructions", Cambridge Scholars Publishing


This book provides a detailed exploration of profit-driven biblioclasm, centring on the case of a Book of Hours, part of the Brooklyn Museum’s holdings until 2021. Facing financial difficulties exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum chose to deaccession and sell various pieces, among which was a manuscript from the Mary Benson bequest of 1919, later dismembered by an American dealer who had purchased it at auction. Whilst examining the moral complexities surrounding these sales and the destruction of irreplaceable European cultural artifacts, the book uncovers the identity of the original owner of the manuscript, and provides a semi-diplomatic edition of the original text.

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