Ruling the Script in the Middle Ages: Formal Aspects of Written Communication (Books, Charters, and Inscriptions), ed. Sébastien Barret, Dominique Stutzmann, and Georg Vogeler (Turnhout, 2016: USML 35), viii+545 pp. ISBN 978-2-503-56743-3.
The twenty essays brought together in this volume explore a wide range of perspectives relating to the materiality and textuality of medieval scripts and documents.

The textuality and materiality of documents are an essential part of their communicative role. Medieval writing, as part of the interpersonal communication process, had to follow rules to ensure the legibility and understanding of a text and its connotations. This volume provides new insights into how different kinds of rules were designed, established, and followed in the shaping of medieval documents, as a means of enabling complex and subtle communicational phenomena. Because they provide a perspective for approaching the material they are supposed to organize, these rules (or the postulation of their use) provide powerful analytical tools for structural studies into given corpora of documents.

Originating in talks given at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds between 2010 and 2012, the twenty papers in this collection offer a precise, in-depth analysis of a variety of medieval scripts, including books, charters, accounts, and epigraphic documents. In doing so, they integrate current developments in palaeography, diplomatics, and codicology in their traditional methodological set, as well as aspects of the digital humanities, and they bridge the gap between the so-called ‘auxiliary sciences of history’ and the field of communication studies. They illustrate different possibilities for exploring how the formal aspects of scripts took their place in the construction of effective communication structures.

Table of Contents


Sébastien Barret, Dominique Stutzmann, and Georg Vogeler, “Introduction”

Martin Bauch, “‘Et hec scripsi manu mea propria’: Known and Unknown Autographs of Charles IV as Testimonies of Intellectual Profile, Royal Literacy and Cultural Transfer”

Diego Belmonte Fernández, “The ‘Empire of Letters’: Textualis and Cursiva in Pragmatic Manuscripts of Seville Cathedral, Thirteenth-Fifteenth Centuries”

Isabelle Bretthauer, “Official Rules of Writing in the North of France? The Writing of Notarial Documents in Normandy between Practices and Regulations”

Claire de Cazanove, “The Practice of Writing in Regensburg: An Overview of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries”

Irene Ceccherini, “Structure et style: observations paléographiques pour l’étude des écritures cursives à Florence aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles”

Émilie Cottereau-Gabillet, “Revealing Some Structures and Rules of Book Production (France, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries)”

Els de Paermentier, “Structures of (Mutual) Inspiration: Some Observations on the Circulation of Repetitive Text Formulas in Charters from the Medieval Low Countries (Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries)”

Harmony Dewez, “The Writing of Obedientiary Account Rolls at Norwich Cathedral Priory (1256-1344)”

Tamiko Fournier-Fujimoto, “Charte de fondation et date de dédicace: témoignages narratifs et diplomatiques à l’abbaye Saint-Étienne de Caen”

Rahel Fronda, “Masters of Micrography: Examples of Medieval Ashkenazi Scribal Artists”

Maria Gurrado, “Writing Angles: Palaeographic Considerations on the Inclinaison of the Script”

Cyprien Henry, “Les actes épiscopaux en Bretagne aux XIe et XIIe siècles: une arme pour la réforme?”

Tobias Hodel, “Königsfelden Abbey and Its First Cartulary: Dealing with Charters in the Fourteenth Century”

Estelle Ingrand-Varenne, “The Use of Vernacular and its Graphic and Material Shape in the Epigraphic Discourse: Three Case Studies from Western France”

Ayda Kaplan, “The Shape of the Letters and the Dynamics of Composition in Syriac Manuscripts (Fifth-Tenth Century)”

Claire Lamy, “The Parchments of Marmoutier Abbey: Preparation, Shaping, Practices (Mid-Eleventh to Mid-Twelfth Century)”

Jean-Baptiste Renault, “Scribal Activity and Diplomatic Forms in Western Provence (c. 950-c. 1010)”

Jinna Smit, “Hand Spotting: The Registers of the Chancery of the Counts of Holland, 1316-1337”

Peter Stokes, “Rule and Variation in Eleventh-Century English Minuscule”

Valeria van Camp, “Princely Communication in the Late Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Century: A Diplomatic Study of the Charters of the Counts of Hainaut”

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