Book Series Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe, vol. 10

Essays in Manuscript Geography

Vernacular Manuscripts of the English West Midlands from the Conquest to the Sixteenth Century

Wendy Scase (ed)

  • Pages: 296 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:16 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2007

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51695-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53892-1
  • E-book
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"The volume has been carefully edited and thoroughly indexed, and Wendy Scase capably presents both a summary of the contents and a useful sense of the project's place in the directions of recent scholarship. (...) this volume will serve as a useful resource for further studies in the region's manuscript networks and as an instructive model for those undertaking similar geographic studies." (G. Shuffelton, in: The Medieval Review, 08.10.08)

"Both in its experiments with geographical analysis and in its use of quantitative analysis across large manuscript corpora, this volume offers a variety of exciting and challenging new approaches to the study of vernacular manuscripts." (T. Burrows, in: Parergon, 25.2 (2008), p. 136-138)

"Taken together with the introduction, these articles present some fascinating insights and useful fresh perspectives." (H. Skoda, in: Modern Language Review, Vol. 107, Part 2, April 2012, p. 585-586)


The medieval English West Midlands has long been associated with the production of vernacular texts, in Old and Middle English, and with the making of several famous manuscripts. The aim of this volume is to re-think assumptions about medieval literature and the region in the light of new research in medieval book history. A series of specially commissioned essays in 'manuscript geography' examines the making and use of texts and books in relation to cultural networks in the region and beyond. Included are case studies of manuscripts of Worcester and the Worcester diocese from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries; investigations of manuscript production in fourteenth-century Shropshire and its wider regional links; and essays on textual cultures in Warwickshire from the activities of the aristocrats and gentry of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to the projects of later antiquarians. Essays in the final section of the volume reflect on the possibilities of large-scale, corpus-based research on medieval manuscript books. Collectively the essays identify and explore some of the investments of traditional regionalist accounts of vernacular literary culture and model new theoretical and methodological approaches.