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This book needs a divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer to split the text from the illustrations, that is.

The purpose of this book is presumably to teach paleography (the study of scripts) as it applies to manuscripts found and written in England. The main tool for this, of course, is illustrations of the manuscripts -- by showing students samples, it lets them learn what scripts looked like in the tenth, or eleventh, or twelfth centuries, and can show regional variations. The illustrations here do this job very well. It includes pages from such noteworthy manuscripts as the Lindisfarne Gospels and other Bible texts, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, English and Latin copies of Bede's history, several copies of Chaucer (including the famous Ellesmere manuscript), and many more. And there are transcriptions of all of them, so the student can check the readings of the hand-written text.

But the accompanying text really isn't much help. There is some history of British book-hands, but it is not well-written and is hard to understand. There are no tables showing the evolution of writing (the idea being to say that if a letter has a particular shape, it probably belongs to a particular era). And while the manuscripts have "contexts," these often strike me as quite incomplete -- not enough about the manuscript itself, the work being copied, or the scribe.

The bottom line is, this book gave me a lot more references to check. But I didn't actually know much more after reading it (or, more than once, getting bogged down in it) than I did after reading E. Maunde Thompson's classic book on paleography. I'm not sure why paleographers seem incapable of writing good textbooks, but they really do seem to have a problem with it.
… (mere)
½
 
Markeret
waltzmn | Jan 28, 2014 |

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Værker
9
Medlemmer
85
Popularitet
#214,931
Vurdering
3.8
Anmeldelser
1
ISBN
18
Sprog
1

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