Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.
Michael Johnston is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Purdue University, Indiana and specializes in the circulation of literary manuscripts in fifteenth-century England. He is the author of Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England (2014) and the co-editor, with Susanna Fein, of Robert Thornton and his Books: New Essays on the Lincoln and London Manuscripts (2014). Michael Van Dussen is Associate Professor in the Department of English at McGill University, Montreal and specializes in communication before print in the Latin West, with emphasis on England's relations with Central Europe. He is the author of From England to Bohemia: Heresy and Communication in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-editor, with Pavel Soukup, of Religious Controversy in Europe, 1378-1536: Textual Transmission and Networks of Readership (2013).
1. Introduction: manuscripts and cultural history Michael Johnston and Michael Van Dussen; 2. Bibliographical theory and the textuality of the codex: towards a history of the pre-modern book Seth Lerer; 3. What is a manuscript culture? Technologies of the manuscript matrix Stephen G. Nichols; 4. Decoding the material book: cultural residue in medieval manuscripts Erik Kwakkel; 5. Organizing manuscript and print: from Compilatio to compilation Jeffrey Todd Knight; 6. Containing the book: the institutional afterlives of medieval manuscripts Sian Echard; 7. Medieval manuscripts: media archaeology and the digital incunable Martin K. Foys; 8. The circulation of texts in manuscript culture Pascale Bourgain; 9. Multilingualism and late medieval manuscript culture Lucie Dolezalova; 10. Miscellaneity and variance in the medieval book Arthur Bahr; 11. Vernacular authorship and the control of manuscript production Andrew Taylor; 12. Medieval French and Italian literature: towards a manuscript history Keith Busby and Christopher Kleinhenz; 13. Afterword: social history of the book and beyond Kathryn Kerby-Fulton; Bibliography.