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Guide to Scripts Used in English Writings up to 1500 (2005)

af Jane Annette Roberts

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
541487,054 (2.5)Ingen
The resurgence of interest in the history of the English language has prompted this indispensable introductory guide to the scripts used in Old and Middle English writing. The best way to gain a sense of changes in scripts across time is through visual examples. The reader is introduced gradually to vocabulary suitable for the description of script through a range of plates, for example, Caedmon's Hymn (the earliest extant English poem); the opening of an Exeter Book poem; the Lindisfarne Gospels; the opening page of King Alfred's first translation; an illustrated version of the story of Abraham and Isaac; passages from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; early (La?amon) and late tellings of the story of Arthur (Malory); contrasting manuscripts of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; Langland; York plays. Each plate is reproduced full size where possible, accompanied by a full transcript, commentary and notes.… (mere)
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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. ( )
  waltzmn | Jan 28, 2014 |
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I General Introduction
 
INTENTION
 
The general scope of this work is to give an overview of the variety of scripts used in the recording of English literature up to and a little beyond the introduction of print, a period too often broken up into Old English (or English up to and a little beyond the Norman Conquest of 1066) and Middle English (roughly from the Norman Conquest up to 1400 or to 1525 or to some later date, according to the historical stance adopted).
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The resurgence of interest in the history of the English language has prompted this indispensable introductory guide to the scripts used in Old and Middle English writing. The best way to gain a sense of changes in scripts across time is through visual examples. The reader is introduced gradually to vocabulary suitable for the description of script through a range of plates, for example, Caedmon's Hymn (the earliest extant English poem); the opening of an Exeter Book poem; the Lindisfarne Gospels; the opening page of King Alfred's first translation; an illustrated version of the story of Abraham and Isaac; passages from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; early (La?amon) and late tellings of the story of Arthur (Malory); contrasting manuscripts of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; Langland; York plays. Each plate is reproduced full size where possible, accompanied by a full transcript, commentary and notes.

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