The Renaissance Reform of the Book and Britain

The English Quattrocento
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication:
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Short description:

Reform of the script was central to the humanist agenda - this book suggests a new explanation of its international success.

Long description:
What has fifteenth-century England to do with the Renaissance? By challenging accepted notions of 'medieval' and 'early modern' David Rundle proposes a new understanding of English engagement with the Renaissance. He does so by focussing on one central element of the humanist agenda - the reform of the script and of the book more generally - to demonstrate a tradition of engagement from the 1430s into the early sixteenth century. Introducing a cast-list of scribes and collectors who are not only English and Italian but also Scottish, Dutch and German, this study sheds light on the cosmopolitanism central to the success of the humanist agenda. Questioning accepted narratives of the slow spread of the Renaissance from Italy to other parts of Europe, Rundle suggests new possibilities for the fields of manuscript studies and the study of Renaissance humanism.

'... an extremely important addition to the growing scholarship on medieval/Renaissance periodization. And it is a champion for the value of manuscript studies and paleography in the pursuit of literary history.' Mimi Ensley, Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
Table of Contents:
Introduction: the revival of letters and the uses of palaeography; 1. The eloquent page: humanism and script, humanism and England; 2. Humanist script in England: the first ten years; 3. British barbarians in Italy and Scotland's first humanist; 4. The Dutch connexion: the significance of low countries scribes from Theoderic Werken to Pieter Meghen; 5. The Butcher of England and the learning of Italy: John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester and the 'pupils of Guarino'; 6. The victory of italic in diplomatic correspondence; 7. Conclusion: beyond humanism, beyond words.