This volume gathers the contributions of senior and junior scholars—all indebted to the pathbreaking work of Derek Pearsall—to showcase new research prompted by his rich and ongoing legacy as a literary critic, editor, and seminal founder of Middle English manuscript studies. The contributors aim both to honor Pearsall’s work in the field he established and to introduce the complexities of interdisciplinary manuscript studies to students already familiar with medieval literature. The contributors explore a range of issues, from the study of medieval literary manuscripts to the history of medieval books, libraries, literacy, censorship, and the social classes who used the books and manuscripts—nobles, children, schoolmasters, priests, merchants, and more. In addressing reading practices, essays provide a wealth of information on marginal commentaries, images and interpretive methods, international transmission, and early print and editorial methods.
"New Directions in Medieval Manuscript Studies and Reading Practices
marks the heritage of the distinguished scholar Derek Pearsall while highlighting his continuing influence on medieval manuscript studies. Buoyed by fine work of senior scholars, the collection also introduces readers to stimulating work by an upcoming generation of more recent practitioners, all of whom address crucial issues in the field: the particulars of individual manuscripts, including scribal practice, marginal commentary, and audience reception. The result is a fine collection at once canonical in some respects and innovative in others." —Paul H. Strohm, Anna S. Garbedian Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, Columbia University
"The range of topics covered in this impressive collection—manuscript studies, Lydgate, Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve, Langland, and romance—attests to the wide-ranging influence Derek Pearsall has exerted on the field of medieval studies. It is hard to think of a scholar since the inception of English studies who has had a greater effect on so many fields of Middle English literature. The lively contributions in this volume come from Derek's colleagues, admirers, students, and students of his students, demonstrating that 'Pearsallian reading practices' will live on long into the future." —Michael Johnston, Purdue University
"This volume is an impressive tribute to Derek Pearsall's legacy and an important resource for anyone interested in manuscripts, scribes, annotators, and readers. It offers resounding evidence of the many ways that manuscript studies is a necessity for understanding medieval literary texts and textual production." —Misty Schieberle, University of Kansas