17. oktober 2019 



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Knud Ottosen
Søren Skjødts Vej 8
DK-8220 Brabrand

Tel.: +45 86259118



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Newsletter 12

Knud Ottosen: The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead
Reprint now available

This book can be used to localize medieval and Renaissance liturgical books.

I have the pleasure to inform you that my study from 1993 The Responsories and Versicles from the Office of the Dead (Aarhus University Press), which has been out of print for some years now, has been reprinted by the editor Books on Demand GmbH, Copenhagen. The book duplicates the first edition with the addition of a new preface and addenda and corrigenda.

It may seem astonishing to some that there is a need for reprinting a 14-year old dissertation, but the fact is that the book is exactly as relevant to scholars today as it was in 1993. It still represents the world’s largest database to compare the responsories of the Office of the Dead in more than 2,000 sources. Since the order of these responsories differed from church to church, this order can be used to localize medieval and Renaissance liturgical books. The book is therefore an absolute necessity for everyone who conducts research on the area it covers. Put differently, the book reveals ‘the geography of the concept of death’ in Europe from the 9th-16th centuries from a theological, liturgical, ecclesiastical, musical and political perspective – seen from one particular liturgical office: The Office of the Dead.

An urgent request for a reprint of my book came from Professor Barbara Haggh-Huglo, Chair of the Study Group Cantus Planus of the International Musicological Society, and the members of its Advisory Board. In her letter of 7 October 2006 addressed to me, Professor Haggh-Huglo writes: “Many members of our study group, not to mention librarians, art historians, and other medievalists conducting research on medieval liturgical books do not have access to your book, which we understand is now out of print. Moreover, a new, younger generation of medievalists would find this book as useful as have their professors.”

It is obviously of great importance to me that scholars should have access to my book in the future in the research libraries in Europe, Canada and America. This I owe to the scholars (Dom G.-M. Beyssac, P.-M. Gy, M. Huglo and others) whose material was made available to me in 1971 in order that I could undertake computerisation and further investigation of its content. Thanks to them, my dissertation is the most quoted book on liturgy today, according to what my colleagues tell me. So, I therefore ask you to check whether your library has a copy of the book. If not, I strongly recommend that your library purchase one.

Knud Ottosen:
The Responsories and Versicles
of the Latin Office of the Dead
Editor: Books on Demand GmbH, Copenhagen, 2007.
452 pages. Price: DKK: 429/€: 57. ISBN 978-87-76-91186-7

An English/American edition will be available soon.

In order to keep in touch with my readers I would appreciate that you send me an e-mail (ottosen@liturgy.dk) when you order the book, so that I can inform you of any new data.

Those who already have the first edition can download the new preface and the additions and corrections from my homepage http://www.liturgy.dk  The Office of the Dead.

Sincerely yours

Knud Ottosen


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