Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Index of Middle English Prose Handlist XIX: Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge (Dd-Oo)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Index of Middle English Prose Handlist XIX: Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge (Dd-Oo)

Article excerpt

Margaret Connolly, The Index of Middle English Prose Handlist XIX: Manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge (Dd-Oo) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer, 2009). Ix + 467 pp. ISBN 978-1-84384-054-0. £60.00.

With the appearance of Handlist XIX of the Index of Middle English Prose we at last have access to detailed information on the important holdings in Cambridge University Library's manuscript collection. In a brief but informative review of the collection's history, Margaret Connolly notes the growth and decline of book holdings in the Middle Ages, from 122 volumes in the 1424-40 catalogue to some 600 one hundred years later, followed by a significant diminution (to 163 volumes) by the reign of Mary; thus the majority of the Library's medieval manuscripts were in fact acquired after the Middle Ages. Significant benefactions were received from Andrew Perne and Matthew Parker in the sixteenth century, Richard Holdsworth in the seventeenth century, and, most spectacular of all, John Moore, Bishop of Ely, whose library of 30,000 volumes, including 1,790 manuscripts, was donated to Cambridge in 1715.

In Handlist XIX Connolly has noted over 1,200 items in 207 manuscripts. As one might expect there are significant holdings of religious works, such as Love's Mirroure of the Blessed Ly f of Jesu Cris te, Hilton's Scale of Perfection, and works by Richard Rolle and the C7oW-author. There are complete Wycliffite sermon cycles on the Sunday Episdes and Sunday Gospels. In addition to the well-known and widely distributed texts there are others which are more unusual, such as Eleanor Hull's psalm translations (Kk. 1.6) and the only known manuscript of The Revelations of Elizabeth of Hungary (Hh. …

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