School of History


David Rundle joined Kent in September 2018 as the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies' Lecturer in Latin and Manuscript Studies. He is a Renaissance historian and a palaeographer. His 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 civilization 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 a 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 was trained at Oxford, where he took both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees. His college was Christ Church and he continued the association when he was asked to complete the catalogue of their medieval manuscripts: this appeared as a volume, co-authored with Ralph Hanna, in 2017. He is now (again with Prof. Hanna) working on the catalogue of the manuscripts of Magdalen College, Oxford. He also has a monograph in press with Cambridge University Press, in their Studies in Palaeography series. Its title is The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain (due out summer 2019).

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 has published widely in leading journals, including the English Historical Review, Renaissance Studies and the Mélanges de l’École française de Rome – Moyen Âge. He 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 Prof. Julia Crick) of the London Manuscript Studies seminar held regularly in Senate House.

Contact Information


Rutherford College
University of Kent

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Rundle, D. and Hanna, R. (2017). A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts to c. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford. [Online]. Oxford Bibliographical Society. Available at:
Rundle, D. (2018). Corpus before Erasmus, or the English Humanist Tradition and Greek before the Trojans. in: History of Universities Series. Oxford University Press.
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:
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School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

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Last Updated: 17/09/2018