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The Manuscript Book in the West


Admission requirements

Only accessible for MA students of Book & Digital Media Studies. Some exceptions may be made: contact the instructor.


This seminar course offers an introduction to the history and development of the Western manuscript book. It explores various aspects of the production and use of the medieval manuscript in Europe, from scribal habits to the practices of readers. The main focus of the course will be on the codicology of manuscripts, or how they were put together. Areas of inquiry include the production and use of manuscripts, the different cultural settings in which books were used, and the relationship between form and function. The course also explores research methods, and strategies of studying and describing manuscripts. Students will have the opportunity to view a wide variety of medieval manuscripts from the rich collections of the library.

Course objectives

  • Course objective 1: To introduce students to the medieval manuscript and its culture of production and use.

  • Course objective 2: To develop a critical understanding of how knowledge of medieval books may be employed in other medieval disciplines, such as the study of history and literature.

  • Course objective 3: To show what role the handwritten book plays in the broader history of human communication.


Timetable on the website

Mode of instruction

Weekly seminars

Course Load

The course load is 140 hours.

  • hours spent on attending seminars: 26 hours

  • time for studying compulsory literature: 39 hours

  • time for writing papers: 75 hours

Assessment method

  • Long essay: 50%

  • Short essay: 20%

  • Submission discussion topics: 10%

  • Class participation: 20%


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

  • 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: Mr. J. Donkers, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.