Working with Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts
Subjects: Medieval Studies
Working with Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts is a highly readable and well-illustrated guide to manuscript study for students and fledgling researchers in Anglo-Saxon history and literature.
Bringing together invaluable advice and information from a group of eminent scholars, it aims to develop in the reader an informed and realistic approach to the mechanisms for accessing and handling manuscripts in what may be limited time. In addition to an exploration of the various manuscript resources available in libraries and their research potential, the book appraises recent developments in electronic resources, making it a beneficial aid for teachers as well as individual researchers working away from the location of manuscripts.
The book includes a clear and comprehensive guide to palaeography and codicology. Chapters on Old English prose, Old English poetry and Anglo-Latin texts introduce readers to the whole range of written material extant in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Manuscript art is uniquely presented in the context of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts as a whole, moving beyond traditional approaches, while the chapter ‘Reading between (and beyond) the lines’ demonstrates some of the fascinating detail of glosses and marginalia, and reveals how the life of the manuscript continued beyond the writing of its main text.
Maria Cesario, Timothy Graham, Catherine E. Karkov, Stuart D. Lee, Daniel Paul O'Donnell, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Alexander R. Rumble, Donald Scragg, Elaine Treharne and Gernot R. Wieland
Contents: 1. Introduction; (Gale R. Owen-Crocker, Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester, UK and Director of the AHRC-funded project 'The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain c. 700-1450' and Maria Carmela Cesario, Lecturer in Medieval English Language and Literature at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, UK); 2. The construction and writing of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts; (Alexander Rumble, Reader in Palaeography and Director of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies at the University of Manchester, UK); 3. Manuscript sources of Old English prose; (Donald Scragg, Emeritus Professor of Anglo-Saxon Studies at the University of Manchester, UK); 4. Manuscript sources of Old English poetry; (Elaine Treharne, Professor of Medieval Literature at Florida State University, USA and Co-Director of the AHRC-funded project 'The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060-1220'); 5. A survey of Latin manuscripts; (Gernot Wieland, Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, Canada); 6. Reading between (and beyond) the lines: glosses and notes in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts; (Timothy Graham, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of New Mexico, USA); 7. Manuscript art; (Catherine Karkov, Professor of Art History at the University of Leeds, UK); 8. From manuscript to computer; (Stuart Lee, Acting Director of University Computing Services and a teaching member of the English Faculty at the University of Oxford, UK and Daniel O'Donnell, Associate Professor of English, Chair of the Text Encoding Initiative and Director of the Digital Medievalist Project, University of Lethbridge, Canada); Glossary; Index of Manuscripts; Index.
‘A clear, reliable, practical and beautifully illustrated introduction to the subject. The book envisions an audience that ranges from advanced undergraduates all the way to established scholars and even graphic artists, and while the undergraduates have the most to gain from the book, there is something here that everyone can learn from.
A common aim of all these chapters is to survey what for many will be recognisable territory, but every chapter embodies original research, and it is inescapably clear that the contributors to this volume have spent a lot of time with manuscripts.
The book as a whole contains 115 well-chosen illustrations, many in colour, including a generous number of full-page reproductions from a wide range of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.
The quality of discussion and analysis in every single chapter is uniformly quite high, but it’s the illustrations that will ensure this book’s success as a teaching tool.
This is a brilliantly conceived book, and just as brilliantly executed, and it should be required reading for all students of Anglo-Saxon England.
The four pages of ‘Further reading’ at the end of the volume are a useful next step for students who have no prior experience with manuscript study.
This is a valuable and well-produced book, and I plan to use it the next time I teach a seminar on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.’ (Thomas N. Hall, Review of English Studies 61.252: 2010)
'At a time when the history of the book is flourishing as an academic subject, this collection of introductory papers should find a ready market.'
'The book is generously designed, its pages handsomely laid out, with good use made of wide margins. Each of the eight main chapters has its own introductory page and is equipped with apposite and well-explained illustrations, many in color, and minimalist and nonintimidating footnotes.'
'Gale Owen-Crocker is to be congratulated for putting together an interdisciplinary overview that should appeal to teachers and their students in medieval studies more generally.' (Speculum, Vol. 86, No. 1, Jan 2011)
'Working with Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, edited by Gale R. Owen-Crocker, provides a set of beautifully illustrated discussions of key topics which will be of immense use to those starting out in the field... Guidance on further reading underpin the volume’s usefulness' (Years Work in English Studies, 2011)
‘...offers students, teachers, and scholars a valuable research tool’ (English Studies, Volume 93, No 4, June 2012, L. Chardonnens)
Gale R. Owen-Crocker is Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at the University of Manchester and has published widely in Medieval Studies. Her books include The Four Funerals of Beowulf and the structure of the poem (2000) and Dress in Anglo-Saxon England (2004), King Harold II and the Bayeux Tapestry (2005), for which she was volume editor and Medieval Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1100: An annotated bibliography (2007), co-written with E. Coatsworth.