The dynamic fields of the history of the book and the sociology of the text are the areas this volume investigates, bringing together ten specially commissioned essays that between them demonstrate a range of critical and material approaches to medieval, early modern, and digital books and texts. They scrutinize individual medieval manuscripts to illustrate how careful re-reading of evidence permits a more nuanced apprehension of production, and reception across time; analyse metaphor for our understanding of the Byzantine book; examine the materiality of textuality from Beowulf to Pepys and the digital work in the twenty-first century; place manuscripts back into specific historical context; and re-appraise scholarly interpretation of significant periods of manuscript and print production in the later medieval and early modern periods. All of these essays call for a new assessment of the ways in which we read books and texts, making a major contribution to book history, and illustrating how detailed focus on individual cases can yield important new findings.
Contributors: Elaine Treharne, Erika Corradini, Julia Crick, Orietta Da Rold, A.S.G. Edwards, Martin K. Foys, Whitney Anne Trettien, David L. Gants, Ralph Hanna, Robert Romanchuk, Margaret M. Smith, Liberty Stanavage.