Portrait of Dr David Rundle

Dr David Rundle

Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Coordinator


Dr David Rundle joined the University of Kent in September 2018 as Lecturer in Latin and Manuscript Studies in the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He is a Renaissance historian and a palaeographer. David took all his degrees at the University of Oxford, his college being Christ Church.

Research interests

David's research has three main elements. One is the role of books within the late medieval and early modern culture of western Europe, at a time when the majority in most societies were illiterate. Another is the movement of ideas within the shared civilisation of Western Christendom, a topic he studies by using the physical evidence of surviving manuscripts to track the availability of and responses to works. This leads to the third element: the power of ideas in politics in the period – or, more often, their lack of power. As the humanist and future pope Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini said: 'Only a fool thinks princes are swayed by books'. David is on the side of the fools. 

David renewed his association with Christ Church, Oxford, when he was asked to complete the catalogue of the college's medieval manuscripts: this appeared as a volume, co-authored with Ralph Hanna, in 2017. He is now (again with Professor Hanna) working on the catalogue of the manuscripts of Magdalen College, Oxford. A monograph, The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2019, as part of their Studies in Palaeography series. 

David has received grants from the British Academy's Neil Ker Fund, the British School at Rome, the Paul Mellon Centre, and Oxford University's Lyell Fund. He spent the spring of 2018 on a fellowship at Harvard University's Houghton Library. 


David teaches on medieval and early modern history. 


David is always happy to work with any graduate student on topics in manuscript studies and in the history of the book more generally, as well as in late medieval and Renaissance history across Europe, including the British Isles.


David is a General Editor to the Oxford Bibliographical Society, and a member of the Council of the Warburg Institute, London. He is also co-convenor (with Professor Julia Crick) of the London Manuscript Studies seminar held regularly in Senate House. 

David is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 



  • Rundle, D. (2016). The circulation and use of humanist ‘miscellanies’ in England. Mélanges de l’École française de Rome – Moyen Âge [Online] 128. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.4000/mefrm.2872.
    England may have been physically remote from the acknowledged centres of production of humanist texts but that did not make it peripheral to the humanist enterprise. This article highlights both the speed with which texts could travel and the vitality of English interest in these works through detailed discussion of a cluster of what are often called ‘miscellanies’. It begins with one owned by Pietro del Monte (d. 1457) which was copied for William Gray, future bishop of Ely (d. 1478), and considers the influence of that copy on collections constructed in mid-fifteenth-century Oxford. In so doing, it argues that the term ‘miscellany’ drains these compilations of their significance as constructions providing insight into how these readers and scribes construed humanism from afar.


  • Rundle, D. (2019). The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain: The English Quattrocento. [Online]. Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781108147804.
    What has fifteenth-century England to do with the Renaissance? By challenging accepted notions of 'medieval' and 'early modern' David Rundle proposes a new understanding of English engagement with the Renaissance. He does so by focussing on one central element of the humanist agenda - the reform of the script and of the book more generally - to demonstrate a tradition of engagement from the 1430s into the early sixteenth century. Introducing a cast-list of scribes and collectors who are not only English and Italian but also Scottish, Dutch and German, this study sheds light on the cosmopolitanism central to the success of the humanist agenda. Questioning accepted narratives of the slow spread of the Renaissance from Italy to other parts of Europe, Rundle suggests new possibilities for the fields of manuscript studies and the study of Renaissance humanism.
  • Hanna, R. and Rundle, D. (2017). A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts to C. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford. [Online]. Oxford Bibliographical Society. Available at: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/descriptive-catalogue-western-manuscripts-c-1600-christ-church-oxford.
    Christ Church Library is pleased to announce the publication of the first in a planned series of manuscript catalogues offering detailed codicological, textual and historical descriptions. The lavishly illustrated volume is published by the Oxford Bibliographical Society in its Special Series of Manuscript Catalogues. An important new work, the catalogue represents a splendid achievement and a milestone in Christ Church Library's developing history. The catalogue has been in progress for many years. It begins by recapitulating the history of every preceding institution on the site, the priory of St Frideswide to Cardinal College to King Henry VIII College, and of what can be said of book provision at each. The detail here is very rich in new discoveries. No fact has been taken on trust but each has been chased back to source, with the early inventories included in the appendix. The catalogue descriptions and textual identifications are as comprehensive as one would expect from the careful scrutiny of two expert hands. With this catalogue of the Western manuscripts to c. 1600, the Library has an ideal model that will be able to serve as an exemplar for the future.

Book section

  • Rundle, D. (2019). Corpus before Erasmus, or the English Humanist Tradition and Greek before the Trojans. In: Feingold, M. and Watts, J. eds. History of Universities: Volume XXXII / 1-2: Renaissance College: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in Context, 1450-1600. Oxford University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198848523.003.0007.
    This chapter looks at aspects of identity and emotion in life at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as envisaged by its founder and as experienced in its early decades. Many historians now strive to discern emotions from the past and to understand the lives of their subjects as experienced in bodies and with feeling. To study emotions is to understand what inspired fear, love, anger, or anxiety, while acknowledging that both the triggers for these emotions and the ways they were expressed are historical indeed. Thinking of Corpus Christi, such embodied experiences happened at its dining tables, in its chapel and library, and in the chambers shared by pupils and teachers; outdoors too, along the paths that led from task to task, and in the gardens. The chapter then considers the spaces inhabited by Corpus members, and the objects which helped form the experiences that made Corpus an ‘emotional community‘.
  • Rundle, D. (2019). La Renaissance de la littera antiqua: une entreprise cosmopolite. In: Crouzet, D., Crouzet-Pavan, E. and Revest, C. eds. L’humanisme à l’épreuve De l’Europe (XVe-XVIe siècles). Seyssel: Champ Vallon, pp. 97-111. Available at: http://www.champ-vallon.com/lhumanisme-a-lepreuve-de-leurope/.
  • Rundle, D. (2018). The Playpen: Reform, Experimentation and the Memory of Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester in the Registry of the University of Oxford. In: Willoughby, J. and Catto, J. eds. Books and Bookmen in Early-Modern England. PIMS. Available at: http://www.pims.ca/publications/new-and-recent-titles/publication/books-and-bookmen-in-early-modern-britain-essays-presented-to-james-p-carley.


  • Rundle, D. (2019). Poggio Bracciolini’s International Reputation and the Significance of Bryn Mawr, MS. 48. In: Ricci, R. and Pumroy, E. eds. Humanism and Poggio Bracciolini: Proceedings of the Colloquium Held at Bryn Mawr College on April 8-9, 2016. Da Una Giornata Di Studio in Ricordo Di Phyllis Walter Goodhart Gordan. Firenze UP.
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