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The Manuscript Book in the West


Admission requirements

Only accessible for MA students Book & Digtal Media.


This seminar presents the manuscript as a significant cultural artefact: a bearer of traditions of reading and writing in the Middle Ages. Every manuscript is an individual product, distinguished by use of a variety of writing supports, characteristic scribal hands, and a unique combination of texts. Students shall be introduced to the processes that would have been involved in the creation of a manuscript: the conventions of book production, facsimiles of common scripts, and distinctive material features of particular genres (the significance of the size of the book, its layout, and the presence of ‘reading aids’, among others). Students will have the opportunity to view some of these physical features first-hand at ‘manuscript demonstrations’ conducted at the University Library. The module shall discuss the changing cultural dynamics that provoked innovation in the material form of medieval manuscripts: notably the move from oral to written culture, the shift in education provision from monasteries to cities, and the rise of written texts in the vernacular.

Course objectives

  • Course objective 1: To develop a critical understanding of the way form and function interact in the composition of a manuscript

  • Course objective 2: To analyse and employ research methods used to study and describe medieval manuscripts

  • Course objective 3: To investigate the contribution of manuscript production in the context to the history of communication


The timetable will be available by June 1 on the website

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • hours spent on attending lectures and seminars:

  • time for studying the compulsory literature

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research)

Assessment method


  • Essay: 50%

  • Essay Outline: 15%

  • Submission of discussion topics: 25%

  • Class Participation: 10%

In the case of a fail, you are entitled to rewrite the course essay.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

Titels of course books and/or syllabi

  • Clemens, R. and Graham, T. (2007), Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Cornell University Press)


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; “”:

Coordinator of studies: Ms S.J. de Kok, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.


Please note that there is a cap of twenty students in this class; early enrollment is recommended.

“Participation in all sessions of this course is compulsory. Upon prior consultation, the lecturer can permit absence at one session for compelling reasons. Students who are absent twice in a half-semester course (7 weeks) will be excluded from further participation and will have to re-take the course. Students who are absent twice in a semester course (13 weeks) will be given an complementary assignment by the lecturer. Absence on three sessions in such a course will lead to exclusion from it.”