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English Medieval BooksThe Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal$
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Alan Coates

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207566.001.0001

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The Palaeography of the Twelfth-Century Manuscripts

The Palaeography of the Twelfth-Century Manuscripts

(p.46) 4 The Palaeography of the Twelfth-Century Manuscripts
English Medieval Books

Alan Coates

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an introduction to the palaeography of the surviving twelfth-century manuscripts from Reading Abbey. It summarizes the evidence taken from various features of the manuscripts to show that some of these manuscripts were produced at or for the abbey whilst others were acquired from other sources, and shows when the various manuscripts entered the abbey. On opening a manuscript the most obvious thing is the way in which the page of that manuscript is laid out. The ruling of a page may constitute a guide to scribal practice, a method of identification, and also be of some use as a dating tool. It is possible to identify the habits of some scribes by examining the ways in which ruling was extended into the margins of the page. The way in which punctuation marks were used may help to distinguish the work of one scribe from another. Four main methods of correction are to be found in the Reading manuscripts: erasure, the signe-de-renvoi, interlinear insertion, and crossing out.

Keywords:   Reading Abbey, palaeography, twelfth-century manuscripts, dating, scribes, ruling, margins, punctuation marks, correction, erasure

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