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The Uses of Script and Print, 1300–1700
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  • Page extent: 314 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.63 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 686.2
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: Z151 .U84 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Printing--England--History
    • Manuscripts--England--History
    • England--Church history
    • England--Intellectual life
    • Learning and scholarship--England--History

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521810630 | ISBN-10: 0521810639)

DOI: 10.2277/0521810639

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published November 2003

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 02:09 GMT, 28 November 2015)


This volume builds upon the widening interest in the connections between culture and communication in medieval and early modern Europe. Focusing on England, it takes a critical look at the scholarly paradigm of the shift from script to print, exploring the possibilities and limitations of these media as vehicles of information and meaning. The essays examine how pen and the press were used in the spheres of religion, law, scholarship, and politics. They assess scribal activity both before and after the advent of printing, illuminating its role in recording and transmitting polemical, literary, antiquarian and utilitarian texts. They also investigate script and print in relation to the spoken word, emphasising the constant interaction and symbiosis of these three media. In sum, this collection helped to refine the boundaries between cultures of speech, manuscript and print, and to reconsider the historical fissures which they have come to represent.

• Makes a contribution to the interconnections between the written, printed, and spoken word • Crosses the medieval/early modern divide, and brings together a variety of medievalists and early modernists - thereby challenging conventional periodisation by bringing • Questions standard notions about the impact of printing and its connections with the Protestant Reformation


1. Introduction: Script, print and history Alexandra Walsham and Julia Crick; Part I. Script, Print and Late Medieval Religion: 2. Publication before print: the case of Julian of Norwich Felicity Riddy; 3. Printing, mass communication and religious reformation: the Middle Ages and after David d'Avray; 4. Print and pre-Reformation religion: the Benedictines and the press in early Tudor England James G. Clark; Part II. Script, Print and Textual Tradition: 5. Law and text: legal authority and judicial accessibility in the late Middle Ages Anthony Musson; 6. The art of the unprinted: transcription and English antiquity in the age of print Julia Crick; 7. The authority of the word: manuscript, print and the text of the Bible in seventeenth-century England Scott Mandelbrote; Part III. Script, Print and Speech: 8. The functions of script in the speech community of a late medieval town, c.1300–1550 Andrew Butcher; 9. The sound of print in early modern England: the broadside ballad as song Christopher Marsh; 10. Communicating with authority: the uses of script, print and speech in Bristol 1640–1714 Jonathan Barry; Part IV. Script, Print and Persecution: 11. Preaching without speaking: script, print and religious dissent Alexandra Walsham; 12. Publish and perish: the scribal culture of the Marian martyrs Thomas S. Freeman; 13. Print, persecution and polemic: Thomas Edwards' Gangraena (1646) and Civil War sectarianism Ann Hughes; 14. Epilogue Margaret Aston.


Review of the hardback: 'One of the … pleasures it brings to light lies precisely in its use of details … The essays collected here will do much to stimulate further work on the overlapping cultures of speech, manuscript and print.' H. R. Woudhuysen, Reviews in History

Review of the hardback: 'Cambridge University Press is here, as ever, incomparable as a producer of academic books.' CILIP Rare Books Group

Review of the hardback: '… this stimulating collection can be warmly recommended for the range of topics it covers and the lively answers it offers to the many pressing questions raised.' History

Review of the hardback: 'Many boundaries are fruitfully crossed in these essays. They bring together the Middle Ages and the early-modern period at the same time as ranging flexibly over manuscript and printed text and various forms of oral discourse. They look beyond London to regions and localities, and sometimes to continental contexts as well. They confront and explore what have been accepted as authoritative arguments about a number of issues … and refine or sometimes refute them with recourse to fresh evidence and speculation. With its insights, questions, and comprehensively high standard of writing and scholarship, this is a valuable and illuminating collection.' The Library

Review of the hardback: 'This collection is a stimulating and authoritative guide to the range of relevant and recent literature.' Southern History Society

Review of the hardback: 'The Uses of Script and Print is a stimulating addition to recent debates.' Reformation

Review of the hardback: 'It is an important compilation, not just for what the individual authors have to say, but also for the broader resonances of their ideas. … a significant set of papers, and definitely a rewarding read.' The Heythrop Journal


Alexandra Walsham, Julia Crick, Felicity Riddy, David d'Avray, James G. Clark, Anthony Musson, Scott Mandelbrote, Andrew Butcher, Christopher Marsh, Jonathan Barry, Thomas S. Freeman, Ann Hughes, Margaret Aston

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