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The Medieval Manuscript Book


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 (ISBN-13: 9781316397022)

Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.

• Suggests a new way of looking at medieval manuscripts, by bringing new emphasis to their cultural context • Offers broad and theoretical approaches to key aspects of manuscript studies • Contains landmark chapters by expert scholars in a number of academic fields


1. Introduction: manuscripts and cultural history Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen; 2. Bibliographical theory and the textuality of the codex: towards a history of the pre-modern book Seth Lerer; 3. What is a manuscript culture? Technologies of the manuscript matrix Stephen G. Nichols; 4. Decoding the material book: cultural residue in medieval manuscripts Erik Kwakkel; 5. Organizing manuscript and print: from Compilatio to compilation Jeffrey Todd Knight; 6. Containing the book: the institutional afterlives of medieval manuscripts Siân Echard; 7. Medieval manuscripts: media archaeology and the digital incunable Martin K. Foys; 8. The circulation of texts in manuscript culture Pascale Bourgain; 9. Multilingualism and late medieval manuscript culture Lucie Doležalová; 10. Miscellaneity and variance in the medieval book Arthur Bahr; 11. Vernacular authorship and the control of manuscript production Andrew Taylor; 12. Medieval French and Italian literature: towards a manuscript history Keith Busby and Christopher Kleinhenz; 13. Afterword: social history of the book and beyond Kathryn Kerby-Fulton; Bibliography.


'The editors and Cambridge University Press have made an excellent start by including this book in the high-profile Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, a series devoted to illuminating literature in relation to medieval culture and bodies of learning. It is to be hoped that the present volume will engage a new generation of literary scholars and cultural historians in discovering manuscript culture and investigating its meanings.' Review of English Studies

'This volume is a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion about the place of the medieval manuscript book within both book history and medieval studies. Reflecting the continuing growth over the past forty years of manuscript studies in both the amount and the sophistication of its research, this collection will provide an accessible and provocative entry point for future scholars. In making plain the necessity of attending to medieval texts as inescapably bound to their physical manifestations, the essays here should establish as a given that any future work in medieval studies drawing on written records will perforce have to contend with the material nature of those records.' Benjamin C. Tilghman, Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript

'This volume, a worthy addition to the series Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, contains twelve new essays (plus an introduction) by a diverse group of scholars … This is a generous collection, offering not only examples of some of the best contemporary work on manuscripts but also suggestions and recommendations for further study and new paradigms for manuscript study.' R. M. Liuzza, Journal of English and German Philology


Michael Johnston, Michael Van Dussen, Seth Lerer, Stephen G. Nichols, Erik Kwakkel, Jeffrey Todd Knight, Siân Echard, Martin K. Foys, Pascale Bourgain, Lucie Doležalová, Arthur Bahr, Andrew Taylor, Keith Busby, Christopher Kleinhenz, Kathryn Kerby-Fulton

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