The Book and the Transformation of Britain c. 550-1050
A Study in Written and Visual Literacy and Orality
Distributed for British Library
Between 550 and 1050 AD, the world of late Roman Antiquity was utterly transformed, becoming a patchwork region of independent states that eventually coalesced into empires and nations, each with distinct, emerging identities. In The Book and the Transformation of Britain, esteemed medievalist Michelle P. Brown explores the impact of this transformative era in British history by looking at the manuscripts and written records that were produced during that time.
Brown’s analysis of the changing of the British Isles pays particular attention to the role of the manuscript book, which was one of the greatest and most effective agents of change—one that also managed to preserve tradition. Through a close examination of written volumes and documents, Brown pieces together a fascinating and highly illustrated account of the literary culture of the time, including levels of literacy and its social perception.
1. Conversion: Scribes, the Sacred and Social Change
From Pamphlet to Pandect: the Codex and the Codification of Scripture
The Book as Speculum of the Transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages
Visualising Sound in Graphic Form: New Ways of Teaching and Learning
Disseminating Scripture: Being the Book—the Scribe as Evangelist
2. Creating communities of reading
The Rise of Written Vernacular Languages
Women and the Book in the pre-Alfredian Era
Inscriptions—words to be seen and not heard?
Books and other Icons
3. Language, literature and libraries
The Impetus of Incomers
Official Intervention? Assessing the Alfredian Contribution
Libraries: the Collection and Retention of Cultural Memory
Women and other Bibliophiles
The Last Word
List of Illustrations