This volume collects nine essays on reading and literacy in Europe from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries.
It is not surprising that the development of the internet and related electronic technologies has coincided with an academic interest in the history of reading. Using and transmitting texts in new ways, scholars have become increasingly aware of the precise ways in which manuscripts and printed books transmitted texts to early modern readers. This volume collects nine essays on reading and literacy in Europe from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Topics include: the function of marginalia in vernacular medieval manuscripts; the trope of reading in the fourteenth century; the definition of literacy in early modern England; marginalia and reading practices in early modern Italy; revision of medieval texts in the Renaissance; the prevalence of translated French poetry in sixteenth-century England; the use of poems as props in the plays of Shakespeare; the private reading of the playscripts of masques; and early-modern women’s reading practices. These essays demonstrate the energy and excitement of the rapidly developing field of the history of reading. They will appeal to those interested in European cultural history, the transition from manuscript to print culture, the history of literacy, and the history of the book.