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 email@example.com.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Daniel Sawyer’s book Reading English Verse in Manuscript c.1350–c.1500 is out!
Here’s the description from the Oxford University Press website: Reading English Verse in Manuscript, c.1350-c.1500 is the first book-length history of reading for later Middle English poetry. While much past work in the history of reading has revolved around marginalia, this book consults a wider range of evidence, from the weights of books in medieval bindings to relationships between rhyme and syntax. It combines literary-critical close readings, detailed case studies of particular surviving codices, and systematic manuscript surveys drawing on continental European traditions of quantitative codicology to demonstrate the variety, vitality, and formal concerns visible in the reading of verse in this period.
The small- and large-scale formal features of poetry affected reading subtly but extensively, determining how readers might move through books and even shaping physical books themselves. Readers’ responses to one formal feature, rhyme, meanwhile, evince a habitual but therefore deep-rooted formalism which can support and enhance close readings today. Reading English Verse in Manuscript sheds fresh light on poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and Thomas Hoccleve, but also shows how their works were read in manuscript in the context of a much larger mass of anonymous poems that influenced canonical poems, in a pattern of mutual influence.
Margaret Connolly’s Sixteenth-Century, Fifteenth-Century Books: Continuities of Reading in the English Reformation is out!
Description from the publisher’s website
This innovative study investigates the reception of medieval manuscripts over a long century, 1470–1585, spanning the reigns of Edward IV to Elizabeth I. Members of the Tudor gentry family who owned these manuscripts had properties in Willesden and professional affiliations in London. These men marked the leaves of their books with signs of use, allowing their engagement with the texts contained there to be reconstructed. Through detailed research, Margaret Connolly reveals the various uses of these old books: as a repository for family records; as a place to preserve other texts of a favourite or important nature; as a source of practical information for the household; and as a professional manual for the practising lawyer. Investigation of these family-owned books reveals an unexpectedly strong interest in works of the past, and the continuing intellectual and domestic importance of medieval manuscripts in an age of print.
Find more information here: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/sixteenthcentury-readers-fifteenthcentury-books/5CF4C42F3E5C28388202DE762ACB24A8#fndtn-information