30 credits, Terms 1 and 2
Note: MA Medieval and Renaissance Studies students may take the 15-credit 'Skills and Sources' module in conjunction with this module.
The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the variety of skills required to read and interpret medieval manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon period to the fifteenth century.
Using important examples of books containing poetry and prose, students will be taught to read medieval handwriting, and how books were constructed and produced. The second strand of the module will include broader social and literary issues concerning medieval books such as patronage and ownership; readership, both male and female; the changing role of scribes and illuminators both in making books and helping to fashion assumptions about reading and interpretation; genre; and locality. By providing a range of material from the Anglo-Saxon period to the later Middle Ages, students will have the opportunity to compare books across both periods while still receiving specialised tuition on each. Old English will usually be studied in one term and Middle English in the other.