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Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts.

M. B. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and

Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London: Hambledon Press, 1991). xxii + 325 pp.;

53 plates. ISBN 1-85285-050-7. 37.50 [pounds]. This collection contains reprints of the

most important of M. B. Parkes's articles, originally published between 1958 and

1987. Their subjects include the concern of seventh- and eighth-century Insular

scribes for greater legibility and intelligibility; the activities of the Wearmouth-Jarrow

scriptorium in the eighth century, and of the scribe Henry Mere in the

fifteenth; a survey of the manuscripts supposedly in St Boniface's handwriting, and

an endorsement of the claim of one of them; the importance of ordinatio and

compilatio for the history of the book; mediaeval shorthand systems for taking

down lectures and sermons; the evidence for lay literacy throughout the Middle

Ages; book-provision in the mediaeval University of Oxford; and the production

of copies of The Canterbury Tales and Confessio Amantis, a piece written jointly with

A. I. Doyle. There are also studies of a number of individual manuscripts: Oxford,

Bodleian Library, MS Digby 23, the Oxford Roland, Cambridge, Corpus Christi

College, MS 173, the Parker manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; a

tenth-century fragment in Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys 2981;

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 1, the Orrmulum, and its dating and origins;

Rome, Vatican Library, MS lat. 3363, a mid-ninth-century copy of Boethius;

Leiden, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit, MS Vossius Lat. 4 [degrees] 106, the Leiden

Riddle; and manuscript fragments from the bindings of the Canterbury probate

registers in the Kent County Archives. As with all Hambledon Press collections,

the reprints are photographic, with some disconcerting variations in typeface; but

that is a small disadvantage in return for the greater availability of Parkes's seminal

articles on manuscript history.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1992
Previous Article:Drama in the Middle Ages: Comparative and Critical Essays, 2d ser.
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