All posts by Martha

Just out: Patterns of Plague, by Lori Jones

EBS member Lori Jones announces the publication of her book, Patterns of Plague: Changing Ideas about Plague in England and France, 1348–1750, which discusses various aspects of plague tractates including their transition from MS to print, shifting emphases, and their use of images. Members interested in receiving a discount are asked to contact Lori directly at

Follow this link to publisher’s site.

Second Ian Doyle Memorial Lecture: April 6

The long-postponed second Ian Doyle Memorial Lecture will be given in conjunction with the Medieval Insular Romance Conference, to be held in Durham, UK, from 5th-7th April.  The lecture will be given by Tony Edwards and will take place on Wednesday, 6th April, at 4:30pm in Elvet Riverside 140.  Tony’s title is ‘Ian Doyle and the Study of Middle English Manuscripts’.  A reception will be held on the Tunstall Gallery, University College, afterwards. 

Just out: Scribal Cultures in Late Medieval England

Description from the publishers site (here)
Linne R. Mooney, Emeritus Professor of Palaeography at the University of York, has significantly advanced the study of later medieval English book production, particularly our knowledge of individual scribes; this collection honours her distinguished scholarship and responds to her wide-ranging research on Middle English manuscripts and texts.

The thirteen essays brought together here take a variety of approaches – palaeographical, codicological, dialectal, textual, art historical – to the study of the English medieval book and to the varied environments (professional, administrative, mercantile, ecclesiastical) where manuscripts were produced and used during the period 1300-1550. Acknowledging that books and readers are no respecters of borders, this collection’s geographical scope extends beyond England in the east to Ghent and Flanders, and in the west to Waterford and the Dublin Pale.

Contributors explore manuscripts containing works by key writers, including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Wyclif, and Walter Hilton. Major texts whose manuscript traditions are scrutinized include Speculum Vitae, the Scale of Perfection, the Canterbury Tales, and Confessio Amantis, along with a wide range of shorter works such as lyric poems, devotional texts, and historical chronicles. London book-making activities and the scribal cultures of other cities and monastic centres all receive attention, as does the book production of personal miscellanies. By considering both literary texts and the letters, charters, and writs that medieval scribes produced, in Latin and Anglo-French as well as English, this collection celebrates Professor Mooney’s influence on the field and presents a holistic sense of England’s pre-modern textual culture.

Just out by Valerie Schutte: Princesses Mary and Elizabeth Tudor and the Gift Book Exchange

From the publisher’s website: “This study examines the gift book practices of Elizabeth and Mary Tudor, both queens of England; it begins with pre-accession dedications given to each of them, moves to their typical patterns of New Year’s gift giving, explores two of Mary’s own translations, and ends on how they each engaged in translations that were published in 1548. It argues that Elizabeth’s dedications to her family, while participating in the tradition of giving books, were unique and in the dedications she intended not only to represent her loyalty but also to stabilize her position within the royal family.”

Find further details here.

JEBS 23 is out!

JEBS23_Front Cover



Adoption, Adaptation, and Subversion of Christian Motifs in the First Darmstadt Haggadah

Books of Duchesses: Mapping Women Book Owners in Late Medieval Francophone Europe, 1350–1550: Initial Findings

“On the Eve”: Politics and the Copying of Trinity College Dublin MS 73

The Materiality of Manuscript Charms in Late-Medieval England: Ink and Writing Surface

The Parson’s Treatise and the Pictorial Cycle of Vices and Virtues in Cambridge University Library MS Gg.4.27

The Wife of Bath’s Jankyn: Some Manuscript Evidence

Nota Bene: Brief Notes on Manuscripts and Early Printed Books Highlighting Little-Known or Recently Uncovered Items or Related Issues

Squaring the Trinity in the Newberry Library Pricke of Conscience

Printed Images in a Thalbach Manuscript Prayer Book of the Sixteenth Century

The Post-Medieval Collecting and Selling of Middle English Romance Manuscripts

Extending MLGB: The Case of Vossianus latinus F.81   In Memory of Richard Sharpe, Magister Acutus

Additaments from Peterborough Abbey and the Problem of the “Busy” Flyleaf

London, British Library, Additional MS 4628, folios 218r−219v: A Partial Witness?

Descriptive Reviews

Tamara Atkin and Laura Estill, eds. Early British Drama in Manuscript

Joshua Calhoun, The Nature of the Page: Poetry, Papermaking, and the Ecology of Texts in Renaissance England

Susannah Mary Chewning, ed.Studies in the Age of Gower: A Festschrift in Honour of R. F. Yeager

Marleen Cré, Diana Denissen, and Denis Renevey, eds.Late Medieval Devotional Compilations in England

Martha Driver, Derek Pearsall, and R.F. Yeager, eds.John Gower in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Lotte Hellinga, Incunabula in Transit: People and Trade

Michael P. Kuczynski, ed.A Glossed Wycliffite Psalter: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 554

Daniel Sawyer Reading English Verse in Manuscript c.1350–c.1500

Lesser-Known Libraries

Manuscripts and Early Printed Books in Sicily: Circulation and Social Networks Among the Antiquarians (1750—1850)

Just out: Marketing English Books, 1476-1550: How Printers Changed Reading, by EBS member Alex da Costa

The Early Book Society is pleased to announce the publication of member Alex da Costa’s monograph, Marketing English Books, 1476-1550: How Printers Changed Reading (OUP, 2020)(

Until the advent of print, the sale of books had been primarily a bespoke trade, but printers faced a new sales challenge: how to sell hundreds of identical books to individuals, who had many other demands on their purses. This book contends that this forced printers to think carefully about marketing and potential demand, for even if they sold through a middleman—as most did—that wholesaler, bookseller, or chapman needed to be convinced the books would attract customers. Marketing English Books sets out, therefore, to show how markets for a wide range of texts were cultivated by English printers between 1476 and 1550 within a wider, European context: devotional tracts; forbidden evangelical books; romances, gests, and bawdy tales; news; pilgrimage guides, souvenirs and advertisements; and household advice. Through close analysis of paratexts—including title-pages, prefaces, tables of contents, envoys, colophons, and images—the book reveals the cultural impact of printers in this often overlooked period. It argues that while print and manuscript continued alongside each other, developments in the marketing of printed texts began to change what readers read and the place of reading in their lives on a larger scale and at a faster pace than had occurred before, shaping their expectations, tastes, and even their practices and beliefs.

New Book by EBS member Orietta Da Rold: Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions, by Orietta Da Rold

The Early Book Society is pleased to announce the publication of member Orietta Da Rold’s monograph, Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions (CUP, 2020)( ).

Orietta Da Rold provides a detailed analysis of the coming of paper to medieval England, and its influence on the literary and non-literary culture of the period. Looking beyond book production, Da Rold maps out the uses of paper and explains the success of this technology in medieval culture, considering how people interacted with it and how it affected their lives. Offering a nuanced understanding of how affordance influenced societal choices, Paper in Medieval England draws on a multilingual array of sources to investigate how paper circulated, was written upon, and was deployed by people across medieval society, from kings to merchants, to bishops, to clerks and to poets, contributing to an understanding of how medieval paper changed communication and shaped modernity.