This book offers an introduction to medieval English book-history through a sequence of exemplary analyses of commonplace book-historical problems. Rather than focus on bibliographical particulars, the volume considers a variety of ways in which scholars use manuscripts to discuss book culture, and it provides a wide-ranging introductory bibliography to aid in the study. All the essays try to suggest how the study of surviving medieval books might be useful in considering medieval literary culture more generally. Subjects covered include authorship, genre, discontinuous production, scribal individuality and community, the history of libraries and the history of book provenance.
Ralph Hanna is Professor Emeritus of Palaeography at the University of Oxford and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of California, Riverside. He has published on Langland, literary culture and medieval manuscripts, including 'The English MS of Richard Rolle' (University of Exeter Press, 2010). This new book is drawn from lectures given to Oxford first-year graduates over the course of many years.
Illustrations Abbreviations Introduction Acknowledgements On the reproductions 1. Texts and their books: the case of 'Beowulf' 2. Medieval authors and texts: the Middle English 'Benjamin' Appendix: The manuscripts of 'Benjamin' 3. The history of a book: Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson C.285 4. Shared exemplars: British Library, MS Cotton Galba E.ix and its relations 5. Scribal oeuvres: `Chaucer's Scribe' and his 'Canterbury Tales' 6. A book contract and its `set text': John Forbor's Psalter Appendix: The Slaithwaite indenture: a transcription, translation and notes 7. Provenances: some medieval libraries Appendix: Selections from medieval booklists John Erghome (OESA of York) Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester The lord Welles Index of manuscripts cited Index of scholars cited