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.
M.B. Parkes (1930 - 2103) was Professor Emeritus of Palaeography in the University of Oxford, and Fellow emeritus of Keble College. He was a Senior Fellow of the British Academy, a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and had been Visiting Professor at the University of Konstanz (1974 and 1980), James T. Hill Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota (1991), and Visiting Professor of Latin at Harvard University (1997). P.R. Robinson is Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of English Studies, University of London, UK. Rivkah Zim is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at King's College London, UK.
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: RA|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.