Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Books of Prayer and Healing / Psalters I

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Books of Prayer and Healing / Psalters I

Article excerpt

Books of Prayer and Healing, ed. A. N. Doane, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile I (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1994). 64 pp. + 39 fiches. ISBN o-866g8-141-1. $105.oo (outside North America).

Psalters 1, ed. Phillip Pulsiano, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile 2 (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, i994). 68 pp. + 50 fiches. ISBN o-86698-146-2. $105.oo (outside North America).

The format of this scholarly initiative is deceptively modest: each volume consists of a sixty- to seventy-page booklet of scholarly description, with an envelope of fiches containing complete microform copies of eight to ten manuscripts. Its scope, on the other hand, is ambitious: the project aims to produce complete microfiche facsimiles of the five hundred or so manuscripts containing Old English; and will therefore run to upwards of fifty volumes.

One problem with the project is that the volumes do not seem to be conceived of as standing alone, even though the price for the whole series is going to be in the region of $5 ooo, putting it out of the reach of many libraries, let alone individuals. The first volume, reviewed here, may well be of interest to scholars interested in such subjects as liturgy, or even the history of medicine, who are not necessarily specialists in Old English, but from an outsider's point of view, the effect is daunting. Opening the handbook of scholarly description, we find a 40o-word preface describing the project as a whole, two pages of `Notes to users', describing the sigla and abbreviations used, and an immediate plunge in medias res with the first description, which begins '177. …

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