Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Introduction to Manuscript Studies

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Introduction to Manuscript Studies

Article excerpt

Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007). xvi +302 pp. ISBN 978-0-8014-8708-8. £20.50. The aim of this substantial but very reasonably priced volume is 'to provide practical instruction and training in the palaeography and codicology of medieval manuscripts, in particular manuscripts written in Latin' (p. xiii). Part 1 tackles codicology, guiding the reader through the details of parchment and paper, pricking and ruling (ch. 1), writing and decorating (ch. 2), correcting, glossing, and annotating (ch. 3), along with binding and storage (ch. 4). After a short excursus of the patterns of survival of medieval books, Part p provides eminently practical guidance on working with manuscripts, including transcribing and editing (ch. 5), before examining punctuation and abbreviation (ch. 6), common types of damage (ch. 7), evidence for origin and provenance (ch. 8), and the conventions for describing manuscript books (ch. 9). This section finishes with an overview of script types from Luxeuil Minuscule to Humanistic Cursive (ch. 10), complete with full-page plates plus partial transcriptions. Part m is devoted to expositions of particular classes of manuscripts: biblical, liturgical, Horae, cartularies, maps, and rolls.

The expositions are models of clarity, and every technical term is also fully explained in a comprehensive glossary. If the book is thus an excellent introduction for the novice, the scope and scale of the coverage mean that the result is more akin to a handbook or a companion. …

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