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LIBRARY GUIDE TO ENG 4900 - Books and Texts

Examples of Manuscript Items
Here are some examples from Kresge Library's Special Collections of handwriting and print interacting with one another.
Further Reading
Interested in learning more about the interaction of manuscript hand and the printing press?

David McKitterick. Print, manuscript, and the search for order, 1450-1830.
"This book re-examines fundamental aspects of what has been widely termed the printing revolution of the early modern period. David McKitterick argues that many of the changes associated with printing were only gradually absorbed over almost 400 years, a much longer period than usually suggested. From the 1450s onwards, the printed word and image became familiar in most of Europe. For authors, makers of books, and readers, manuscript and print were henceforth to be understood as complements to each other, rather than alternatives. But while printing seems to offer more textual and pictorial consistency than manuscripts, this was not always the case. McKitterick argues that book historians and bibliographers alike have been dominated by notions of the uses of the early printed book that did not come into existence until the late nineteenth century, and he invites his readers to work forward from the past, rather than backwards into it."--Jacket.

K. S. Whetter. The manuscript and meaning of Malory's Morte Darthur: Rubrication, commemoration, memorialization.
The red-ink names that decorate the Winchester manuscript of Malory's Morte Darthur are striking; yet until now, no-one has asked why the rubrication exists. This book explores the uniqueness and thematic significance of the physical layout of the Morte in its manuscript context, arguing that the layout suggests, and the correlations between manuscript design and narrative theme confirm, that the striking arrangement is likely to have been the product of authorial design rather than something unusual dreamed up by patron, scribe, reader, or printer. The introduction offers a thorough account of not only the textual tradition of the Morte, but also the ways in which scholarship to date has not done enough with the manuscript contexts of Malory's Arthuriad. The book then goes on to establish the singularity and likely provenance of Winchester's rubrication of names. In the second half of the study the author elucidates the narrative significance of this rubrication pattern, outlining striking connections between manuscript layout and major narrative events, characters, and themes. He argues that the manuscript mise-en-page underscores Malory's interest in human character and knighthood, creating a memorializing function similar to the many inscribed tombs that dominate the landscape of the Morte's narrative pages. In short, Winchester's design creates a memorializing tomb for Arthurian chivalry.

A. S. G Edwards. "Chaucer from Manuscript to Print: The Social Text and the Critical Text." Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature vol 28(4): 1995, 1-12.

Jane Griffiths. Diverting authorities: Experimental glossing practices in manuscript and print.
This book examines the glossing of a variety of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century texts by authors including Lydgate, Douglas, Chaloner, Baldwin, Bullein, Harington, and Nashe. It is concerned particularly with the use of glosses as a means for authors to reflect on the process of shaping a text, and with the emergence of the gloss as a self-consciously literary form. One of the main questions it addresses is to what extent the advent of print affects glossing practices. To this end, it traces the transmission of a number of glossed texts in both manuscript and print, but also examines glossing that is integral to texts written with print production in mind. With the latter, it focuses particularly on a little-remarked but surprisingly common category of gloss: glossing that is ostentatiously playful, diverting rather than directing its readers. Setting this in the context of emerging print conventions and concerns about the stability of print, Jane Griffiths argues that - like self-glossing in manuscript - such diverting glosses shape as well as reflect contemporary ideas of authorship and authority, and are thus genuinely experimental. The book reads across medieval-renaissance and manuscript-print boundaries in order to trace the emergence of the gloss as a genre and the way in which theories of authorship are affected by the material processes of writing and transmission.

Arthur Marotti. Manuscript, print, and the English Renaissance lyric.

Reception History
Library Contact
Picture: Emily Spunaugle

Emily Spunaugle
Assistant Professor, Humanities Librarian

Books on Books
For background and identification of book parts:
ABC for Book-Collectors
New Introduction to Bibliography
Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book

Broadview Reader in Book History

Use some of the following subject headings for locating books in our library and from others via MelCat:
  • Authors and readers -- History
  • Book industries and trade
  • Bookbinding
  • Booksellers and bookselling
  • Early printed books
  • Illustration of books
  • Libraries -- History
  • Manuscripts
  • Printing -- History
  • Publishers and publishing -- History
  • Books and reading -- History
  • Type and type-founding
You can construct an advanced search pairing relevant subject headings from above with the time period or type of book you're interrogating. Try keyword phrases such as:
  • 17th century
  • 18th century
  • 19th century
  • "early modern"
  • renaissance
  • colonial
  • women
  • victorian
  • conduct

You can also consult individual journals for relevant scholarship related to textual scholarhip, book history, and reception. This list can also serve as a guide for determining which articles you've located will be most useful for book history scholarship (rather than the literary approaches with which we're most familiar). Here are some to which Kresge Library has access:
Find Books

Library OneSearch
Use the catalog to find books, videos, recordings, and goverment documents we have at the library.

A statewide catalog of many of Michigan's libraries. It allows you to request books at another library be sent to Kresge Library for you.


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