This five-year AHRC-funded project has just come to an end with the launch of the final version of the website and electronic book.
The project was conceived by Mary Swan of the University of Leeds and Elaine Treharne then of the University of Leicester, now of Florida State University, and carried out by them along with Orietta Da Rold and Takako Kato at Leicester. The aim was to catalogue and describe all manuscripts containing English texts compiled between 1060 and 1220, identifying not only their contents (including glosses and marginalia) but also their place of origin and the particular agendas behind their compilation. Many of the manuscripts contain texts in more than one language and one element of the project’s research was to investigate the use and status of English as a written language in this period and its relationship with Latin and other vernaculars.
Needless to say, many manuscripts from the Parker Library were included in the project’s corpus, 23 in all, of which five were selected as detailed case-studies with exhaustive description:
- 191 Bilingual Rule of Chrodegang
- 302 Aelfric, Hexameron & Homilies
- 303 Homilies
- 367 Homilies, Vision of Leofric, etc.
- 383 Law-codes and related texts
As well as the catalogue of manuscripts, there’s also a set of essays on the Cultural Contexts of English Manuscripts 1060-1220 and a lengthy bibliography.
It’s a hugely important resource in its own right and provides a basis for a great deal of future research on these manuscripts. One of the advantages of publishing in electronic form is that the editors promise to update the catalogue in the light of their own ongoing studies or material submitted by users. We will certainly be making sure that readers consulting our 11th-13th century manuscripts are aware of it.