The Love of Books

Detail of a painting by Cima da Conegliano (1460–1518)

Books delight us, when prosperity smiles upon us; they comfort us inseparably when stormy fortune frowns on us.

Monastic Space and the Use of Books in Anglo-Norman England

Canterbury - Eadwine Psalter

My summary of a paper given at the Institute of Historical Research on: Monastic Space and the Use of Books in Anglo-Norman England.

Medievalism, the Beautiful Book, and the Arts and Crafts Movement

Kelmscott Chaucer

My objective here is to examine briefly the influence of Medievalism on the emergence of the concept of the beautiful book in the Arts and Crafts movement, first in England and then its impact in publication design in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Spiritual ‘encyclopedias’ in eleventh-century Byzantium?

Image from a Byzantine manuscript now digitized

The theoretical debate concerning what constitutes an ‘encyclopedia’ in the Byzantine context appears to be not only underdeveloped, but also carried out in a vacuum with respect to the Latin medieval counterpart (and vice-versa).

On Omissions and Substitutions in the Medieval English Translations of the Gospel

Wessex Gospels/West-Saxon Gospels

In view of this we carried out research on two English medieval translations of John’s Gospel, believing that their comparison would not only reveal differences in the perception and experience of biblical concepts (expressed through language), but also those in culture, society and cognition that occurred in the period between their occurrence.

‘Selling stories and many other things in and through the city’: Peddling Print in Renaissance Florence and Venice

‘Selling stories and many other things in and through the city’: Peddling Print in Renaissance Florence and Venice Rosa M. Salzberg (University of Warwick) Sixteenth Century Journal: XLII/3 (2011) Abstract Mobile and marginal, street sellers tend to disappear from the historical record, yet they played a very important part in the dissemination of cheap print […]

‘Take almaundes blaunched …’ Cookbooks in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

cooking medieval food

What is a cooking recipe, what is a manual to good, healthy food in the epoch of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age?

Medieval bindings: stiff board structures in Slovenian manuscript collection

Old book bindings - photo by Tom Murphy VII

The paper aims to present the methodology of work used in the research as well as the process of formulating description form related to conservation bookbinding. The paper closes with observations and conclusions drawn from the analysis of the Slovenian collection of medieval codices.

The Italian Giant Bibles, Lay Patronage, and Professional Workmanship


Eleventh-century Umbro-Roman Giant Bibles were commissioned by varied church and lay patrons (and not only by Roman reform- party adherents) and crafted by ad hoc assemblies of paid craftsmen using methods of carefully calibrated, synchronous copying to reduce production time for the single commission.

Late Medieval Franciscan Statutes on Convent Libraries and Education


Although the higher education of the Franciscans has frequently been the object of research, their role in offering elementary instruction has often been ignored.

Making Books for Profit in Medieval Times

Detail of a miniature of a scribe writing the miraculous Gospels of Kildare - Royal 13 B.VIII, f.22

What I find most remarkable about the bookish slice of medieval society that I study is not so much the differences between medieval manuscripts and our modern books, but their similarities.

The Great Age of Books: The 14th and 15th Centuries

The Great Age of Books: The 14th and 15th Centuries

In this video, Hobbins discusses his research on the tremendous changes in book production in the late Middle Ages, before the advent of print.

Edition, Translation, and Exegesis: The Carolingians and the Bible

Carolingian Manuscripts

In their attention to philological procedures and details, to the work of editing, revising, and translating, ninth-century scholars made a lasting contribution to the ways in which Europeans would think about the Bible.

Exegesis According to the Rules of Philosophy or the Rule of Faith?: Methodological Conflict in the Ninth-Century Predestination Controversy

Alcuin of York

The development of biblical exegesis, as Contreni shows, was rapid, but not homogeneous. On the one hand, one of the main ways to acquire biblical wisdom was to rely on the interpretations and teaching of the Holy Fathers, whose texts were studied, assimilated, simplified, collected, and taught. On the other hand, Alcuin’s revival of the liberal arts6 paved the way for the rise of another method of biblical exegesis.

In It for the Money: The Birth of Commercial Book Production

In It for the Money: The Birth of Commercial Book Production

This lecture introduces the main players of this world of medieval book commerce — parchment makers, paid scribes, illuminators, shopkeepers — and discusses why these traditionally separate professions blended into a closely knit community that stands at the cradle of our bookish world today.

Reading and meditation in the Middle Ages: Lectio divina and books of hours

medieval reading - Walters Museum MS. W.322. Creative Commons licensed.

This article aims to shed light on the practice of reading the book of hours by considering who engaged in this practice, how the book of hours was read, and what the goal of such reading activity was.

Medieval Book History Week Lecture: “Practical Latin and Formal English in the 14th-15th Centuries”

Reeve - Manuscript c. 1327-1328

This lecture is part of Medieval Book History Week. Renown Professor Jeremy Catto spoke about literacy and language in England during the later Middle Ages at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto.

Authors, Scribes, Patrons and Books

The Idea of the Vernacular: An Anthology of Middle English Literary Theory, 1280–1520

This essay gives an account of the social role of manuscripts and early printed books and the processes by which they were made, processes that changed greatly during the period

Bernard Ayglier and William of Pagula: Two Approaches To Monastic Law

Medieval Monks

The paper examines the role of canon law in two monastic works, the Speculum monachorum (SM) (1272×74) of Bernard Ayglier (d.1282), abbot of Montecassino, and the Speculum religiosorum (SR) (c.1322) of William of Pagula, a canonist and secular priest (d.1332)

The Librarius and Libraire as Witnesses to the Evolving Book Trade in Ducal Brittany

Medieval book

In monasteries and cathedrals of the medieval West, the « custos librariae » functioned primarily as a custodian or keeper of bound codices, and we see a similar role emerge from extant medieval registers from Breton cathedral chapters.

“The King’s Library: Construction, Representation and Reception of the Ideal Kingship in the Late French Middle Ages”

Charles V of France

This paper on Charles V of France and his contribution to education was given on October 5th, 2012 as part of a workshop between Freiburg and the University of Toronto.

Medieval and Renaissance Book Production

19th century depciction of a medieval printer

We are accustomed to think of the periods of manuscripts and printed books as distinct. Traditionally a scholar working in one of these fields has known little of the other field.

Kissing Images, Unfurling Rolls, Measuring Wounds, Sewing Badges and Carrying Talismans: Considering Some Harley Manuscripts through the Physical Rituals they Reveal

Old books

Christianity as practised in the late Middle Ages demanded physical rituals. These rituals encompassed great public displays, such as processions around town walls and through churches, led by clergy dressed in ceremonial garb; smaller public displays, such as priests’ performances of Mass; and actions by the laity, including small private rituals involving a votary with his book and perhaps an image.

Reading in the Refectory: monastic practice in England from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries

Reading in the Refectory: monastic practice in England from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries

Teresa Webber discusses monastic practices of communal public reading at mealtimes.

Glossaries and Other Innovations in Carolingian Book Production

Turning over a New Leaf : Change and Development in the Medieval Book

Carolingian book production needs to be understood within the context of the communication of knowledge, the transmission of ideas across time and space and the consequent formation of what can be described as a cultural map in Europe.

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