Elina Gertsman, professor of medieval art and the Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Professor in Catholic Studies II, won the 2023 Otto Gründler prize for her book The Absent Image: Lacunae in Medieval Books. Given annually, the Otto Gründler Book Prize recognizes a monograph on a medieval subject that the selection committee determines has made an outstanding contribution to the field. Authors from any country are eligible, and nominations are accepted from readers and publishers.
Published by Penn State University Press in 2021, Gertsman’s book demonstrates that “absence itself can be evidence of thought,” according to the prize committee. Using a variety of materials across disciplines, “the argument commands and rewards the reader who will never again consider a blank space in a manuscript to be a ‘mistake’ or a ‘lack of completion’ but rather an opening of doors to other meaningful explanations.”