In the present collection of articles by Malcolm Parkes two overarching concerns emerge: the palaeography of manuscript books in relation to what Parkes has previously called the 'grammar of legibility'; and the importance of considering the circumstances in which medieval books were produced, copied and read. The individual studies discuss the handwriting of individual scribes, and the evidence script can provide of the circumstances of a book's production, the effect of punctuation and layout of text on the reader's interpretation of a work, and the provision and production of books for communities of readers, both clerical and academic. From a discussion of the scribe of the Hereford Mappa Mundi to a comprehensive study of book provision in the medieval University of Oxford, a wealth of information is conveyed in these articles, now conveniently accessible in one volume, about books and their histories by one of the most knowledgeable of manuscript scholars today.
'The collection is particularly welcome because the original places of publication are widely scattered… Medievalists generally have cause to thank the editors for their painstaking preparation of the materials in this volume and for equipping it properly with an Index of Manuscripts and a General Index.' Journal of the Early Book Society
Contents: Introduction; Part I Scribes and Scripts: The Hereford Map: the handwriting and copying of the text; Richard Frampton: a commercial scribe c.1390-c.1420; Patterns of scribal activity and revisions of the text in early copies of works by John Gower; Archaizing hands in English manuscripts. Part II Punctuation: Latin autograph manuscripts: orthography and punctuation; Punctuation and the medieval history of texts; Medieval punctuation and the modern editor; Punctuation in copies of Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus. Part III Readers: RÃ¦dan, areccan, smeagan: how the Anglo-Saxons read; Folia librorum quaerere: medieval experience of the problems of hypertext and the index; Stephan Batman's manuscripts. Part IV Book Provision: History in books' clothing: books as evidence for cultural relations between England and the Continent in the 7th and 8th centuries; The compilation of the Dominican lectionary; The provision of books; Indexes.
The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.
The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.
Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource.
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