Category Archives: Books

New book by EBS member Daniel Sawyer ~

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.

Find out more here.

New book by EBS member Margaret Connolly ~


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