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The Book and the Transformation of Britain c.550-1050 (hardback)

Published Date:
November 2011
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 176 pages, 244 x 172mm, 12 colour and 75 black and white illustrations
Michelle P Brown
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This period witnessed one of the great shifts in human history. It included the transformation of the world of late Roman antiquity into a patchwork of successor states, each with emergent identities, which coalesced into empires and nations.

This process is explored here in the British Isles, with reference to neighbouring Ireland, through the medium of the manuscript book – one of the greatest and most effective agents of change and preservers of tradition.

Through the pages of contemporary volumes and documents a series of fascinating issues are addressed, including levels of literacy, social perception of the significance of word and image and their generation and reception within ‘communities of reading’.

Whilst few people actually read themselves, many saw and interpreted and all were affected.

`Michelle P Brown delivers a comprehensive analysis of the role of the written word in the transformation of Britain over the course of roughly five hundred years immediately following the Norman Conquest... the book played a significant part in affecting the development of culture, religion, language and literacy in Britain, and by focusing her discussion on the production and use of specific texts, Brown demonstrates the impact even of an individual manuscript on a reading community.` Kelsey Moskal, CILIP Newsletter

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