Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Of the Making of Books: Medieval Manuscripts, Their Scribes and Readers: Essays Presented to M.B. Parkes

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Of the Making of Books: Medieval Manuscripts, Their Scribes and Readers: Essays Presented to M.B. Parkes

Article excerpt

Of the Making of Books.- Medieval Manuscripts, their Scribes and Readers. Essays Presented to M. A Parkes, ed. P. R. Robinson and Rivkah Zim (Aldershot: Scolar, 1997). xiii + 324 PP. ISBN j-85 928-079-X. C6 5.oo.

Unlike a great many examples of the genre, Festschriften for palaeographers have a history of being instant classics. Those for Hunt, Ker, Doyle, and Watson are what Richard Sharpe calls 'reference books of first resort', the place where one will find major issues both identified and addressed authoritatively and suggestively. This volume, dedicated to a figure who has represented Oxford palaeography for more than two decades, joins this distinguished company.

Parkes's public career, as is customary, is chronicled in Rivkah Zim's bibliography at the rear of the volume (PP- 300-6). This signals his encyclopedic range of interests (and reading any of the works communicates the encyclopedic knowledge underlying Parkes's shrewd sense of the relevant example). But Of the Making of Books equally stands as a tribute to something more invisible, Parkes's thorough generosity, his devotion to teaching, and his skills as educator. The wonderful introduction (pp. z-9) is a sequence of memoirs (which should be supplemented by Vincent Gillespie's in the Keble Record for 1997). And the contributors, half of them former students, in the skills they display, repeatedly demonstrate the strength of Parkes's pedagogical example.

From cover to cover, this book is filled with textbook instances of how to conceive and think about fundamental palaeographical problems. …

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