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.
Market/readership: ' The book has been set out to teach first-year graduates. But it is within the intellectual reach of final-year undergraduates. At the same time, given the breadth of the filed, its individual chapters often make scholarly interventions. It will be perfectly fit for use as a textbook in a range of graduate context, but will also be a useful volume for scholars, primarily those just venturing into the field, but with gleanings for established scholars with interests in medieval book-production'
Scholarship in this work is superb. Quotations, translations, bibliography are spot on. Professor Hanna’s lifetime of intelligent work in the field glows at all points of discussion.
This is a first-rate book from a scholar at the forefront of palaeographical and bibliographical study; it will have a wide readership. It will be an excellent partner for the recent Owen-Crocker volume 'Working with Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts' (2009, HB 9780859898409, PB 9780859898416).
This handsome volume teaches far more than the facts of book history, manuscript culture, and Middle English Literature. It is a model of how to sleuth, how to think critically, how to enter into a detective mindset 'in which every implicit assumption of knowledge [is] teased out, queried and productively qualified'
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