Manuscripts,Libraries and Archives: further adventures in palaeography and codicology - MT885

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
7 30 (15)


Palæography and Codicology: an introduction to manuscript studies





This module develops the skills introduced in the core palæography module by demonstrating their application to cultural and literary history. It will do this by considering the milieux in which hand-written texts were produced, circulated and stored in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It, therefore, spans across both 'manuscript culture' and the centuries after the introduction of print. It considers the process of destruction and survival of codices from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, and also reflects on the continuing production of manuscript books and documents. At the same time, it assists students in further refining their technical skills in working with codices and documents.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Seminars: 22 Hours

Method of assessment

~ Technical paper 2000 words: 30%
~ Presentation (10 Min presentation and 10 minutes discussion) 10%
~ Essay. 3,500 words: 60%

Indicative reading

A. Crawford ed., The Meaning of the Library: a cultural history (Princeton, 2015)
D. McKitterick, Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450-1830 (Cambridge, 2003)
M. B. Parkes, Their Hands before our Eyes (Aldershot, 2008)
L. Smith ed., Women and the Book: assessing the visual evidence (London, 1997)
C. Steedman, Dust: the archive and cultural history (New Brunswick NJ, 2002)
A. G. Watson, Medieval Manuscripts in post-medieval England (Aldershot, 2004)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

~ Recognise how palæographical and codicological evidence can be deployed to reconstruct the wider social and cultural context.
~ Reflect on the milieux in which hand-written texts were produced, circulated and stored in the Middle Ages and early modern period.
~ Show an appreciation of the dynamics of the survival and destruction of manuscripts in the post-medieval world.
~ Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the practices of researching the technical aspects of manuscript volumes and documents.
~ Express a reasoned assessment of the trends in the relevant recent scholarship.

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