Medieval Books in the 21st Century – free online event taking place next month

The University of Exeter is hosting a free online event on November 14th about their project on medieval books. Participants will get a sneak preview about the Tretiz, a textbook used to teach French in medieval England.

The event will introduce the audience to medieval books, especially how each individual hand-produced copy could be unique depending on the choices of the copyist, or ‘scribe’. People can find out how the cutting-edge technology used as part of the University of Exeter project is allowing experts to capture and compare the content of medieval books in a better way than traditional print editions can.


“Nobody needs to know anything about the Middle Ages or digital technologies to enjoy this event,” says Tom Hinton, who is leading the project and event. “We will take participants behind the scenes of the project, showing them how we are reading and transcribing a manuscript and using digital technology to encode the text so that it can be presented online in a variety of different ways. Audience members will be able to try out these two activities for themselves during the event.

“Medieval books were handwritten and authors were often dead long by the time the copies that survive today were made. For example, the Tretiz was written in the mid-13th century, but the manuscripts being edited for the project range from the late 13th century to the early 15th century. This meant that individual scribes had a freedom to change a text in the way they wanted, often in response to the requirements of the people who had commissioned a copy. Each manuscript offers us a window onto the lives of a particular group of readers.”

The University of Exeter project hopes to edit all seventeen surviving manuscripts of the Tretiz, and make them freely available online by late 2021.


Click here to sign up for Medieval Books in the 21st Century

See also Learning French in Medieval England

Top Image: British Library MS Sloane 809 


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