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Introduction to Manuscript Studies Paperback – December 20, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0801487088 ISBN-10: 0801487080 Edition: 1st

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Introduction to Manuscript Studies + Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (Looking At) + A History of Illuminated Manuscripts
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A volume of broad, interdisciplinary appeal. . . . This volume would be an excellent classroom resource . . . . This beautifully illustrated, skillfully organized resource is an ideal survey of the field, valuable for presenting information critical to new students and veteran scholars, for teaching the history and scope of the medieval manuscript. A very worthwhile addition to collections in medieval studies, art history, English literature, or archival studies."—Choice

"Introduction to Manuscript Studies is for beginners and seasoned scholars alike, offering details—such as that the best quills are plucked in the springtime from the left wings of live geese—that will delight everyone. Bringing together codicology, paleography, material culture, and a bit of art history as well, this gorgeous, comprehensive, and charming book should be on the syllabus of every course in medieval studies."—Barbara H. Rosenwein, Loyola University Chicago

"Impressive in both its comprehensive range and depth of detail and even more remarkable for the clarity of its writing and illustration, this long-needed volume will serve as an admirable introduction for students from the many disciplines that study medieval manuscripts. It is also likely to become a treasured reference tool for experienced scholars."—Richard K. Emmerson, Florida State University

About the Author

Raymond Clemens is Associate Professor of History at Illinois State University and former Acting Director of the Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance Studies. Timothy Graham is Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies and Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of The Recovery of Old English: Anglo-Saxon Studies in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and coeditor of Medieval Art: Recent Perspectives.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (December 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801487080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801487088
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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A wonderful and expansive introduction to the study of medieval illuminated manuscripts.
Robin K. Currie
While remaining accessible to a reader of casual interest, this book does not avoid the depth sought by a serious scholar.
Douglas R. VanBenthuysen
Fascinating and informative, this book is not only informative but also an "easy read" for a textbook.
Roseann Gillespie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. VanBenthuysen on February 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham provide a spectacular introduction to the fascinating subject of manuscript studies. This well-organized book lays out nicely the various aspects of this field, including all aspects of book production, scribal practice, and script styles, making it a useful read for any student of the medieval period. The clear prose also makes this book accessible to anyone interested in the medieval period and/or the history of book making.

Beyond the actually text, this book is beautiful. It includes a myriad of full color images, highlighting the manuscript features discussed in the text. Consequently, one might derive enjoyment simply by flipping through the book and looking at the pictures, and it might very well be as appropriate sitting on a coffee table as shelved in a scholarly library.

While remaining accessible to a reader of casual interest, this book does not avoid the depth sought by a serious scholar. The book is thoroughly researched, with copious footnotes to direct the curious reader to further reading on particular topics. Even more useful to this end is the copious and well-organized bibliography which covers the all aspects of this broad field.

In short, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in manuscript studies: from the casual admirer to the serious scholar.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robin K. Currie on March 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
A wonderful and expansive introduction to the study of medieval illuminated manuscripts. A tutorial based on university courses. Describes the processes involved in preparing vellum, making inks, scribing the text, decorating the leaves and binding the books. Provdes guidance on how to interpret text and script forms inclusive of abbreviations and punctuation. Clarifies how to record translated text into acceptable format for academic studies. Gives information on the genre and application for most know types of manuscripts, several in great detail. Loaded with high quality illustrations, photos and charts. One of the best books available on the subject and recommemded for any level of interest. Lacking only in that not all photographic examples are provided with a date of origin. Informative, enlightening and educational!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By feuilletoniste on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I was writing a graduate-level paper on palaeography and codicology (two subjects about which I knew almost nothing) and this book provides all the tools necessary, from the vocabulary to the process of working with a manuscript and even presenting your findings. The style is light and readable, and the pictures - beyond being essential to gaining an understanding of what all this business of textualis and humanist hands and tironian et symbols and whatnot when there isn't a 24-hour archive handy! - are beautiful and beguiling. This makes it just as suitable for an interested, casual reader as for students.

I only wish I had found this book earlier - doubtless there is much more useful information in there than the gems that I stumbled upon.

A potential caveat: I was working with the hard-bound edition, which would doubtless last longer as the coffee book table that this should become in an intellectually curious household. But doubtless the paperback will appeal to people who aren't used to a bit of medieval heft in their books!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ray TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This stunningly printed and bound book doesn't end with its high quality format: the text itself is a highly accessible and extensively detailed examination at all aspect of medieval manuscripts. Starting with a comprehensive review of the various types of writing surfaces that have historically been used to carry written words (wood, wax, metal, paper, papyrus, and parchment), the book moves on to cover a detailed exploration of the medieval parchment manuscript (the most common type for all documents of the period), including sections on decoration, glossing, annotation, suggestions for reading an interpreting manuscripts, and a discussion on the various types of content that were reproduced on such manuscripts.

The book is printed in an oversized format, with heavy semi-gloss paper and extensive use of color illustrations and photos, making the book itself a modern day equivalent of the medieval variant. The author's content is so extensive and wide ranging that it has lead a number of authorities to state that the book should be required reading for anyone studying the period. A quick review of the text will likely convince anyone to agree. It is unusual to see so comprehensive a text be also reproduced in such a stunningly gorgeous manner. The book is on par with the quality seen in the books published in France by its national library (the Bibliothèque Nationale de France ), and if one has ever seen such books, that is quite a claim to make. That it is available for under $40 is simply astounding.

The content is as accessible as it is detailed. The author makes good use of explanations when introducing terms, and does not overwhelm the reader with abstract and arcane language, yet still maintains a scholarly tone throughout the volume.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Frank on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a great deal of information all in one location. It is fascinating to browse and to read. When I brought it to my class they immediately purchased it unprompted by me so they could have it for reference. The students in my calligraphy classes felt it was very well done. The bookbinding students also liked it for the history.
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