Four Courts Press 
New Catalogue
December 2005
55/50/$55 hbk

Word and image in the book of kells


The Book of Kells contains almost 2000 decorated initials, the majority of which are formed by human figures, beasts, birds and fish. As early as 1974, Fran%E7oise Henry commented that perhaps the decorated initials related 'to the text, as music does to words of a song'. Word and image in the Book of Kells offers an in-depth examination of the smaller decorated initials, script layout, and marginalia. The display script and full-page images are reconsidered within the context of the manuscript's minor decoration, suggesting that much of the manuscript's decoration is self-referential and articulates the manner in which the gospel text functioned as an instrument of salvation.

Heather Pulliam is an assistant professor of art history at Western Kentucky U. Her main area of research is word-image relationships in 8th- and 9th-century gospel books and psalters.

232pp ills December 2005