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This course will introduce students to the scripts in use in Ireland and Britain up to c. 1100. In the first half of the course, we will cover those scripts written on the islands of Britain and Ireland to c. 850 and learn to identify characteristic letterforms, ligatures, and abbreviations. In the second half of the course, we will trace the development of writing in Ireland and Britain, and focus on regional developments from c. 850 to c. 1100. Throughout both days, we will encounter examples in both Latin and regional vernaculars (Old English, Old Welsh, Old Cornish, Old Breton, and Old Irish). No previous knowledge of languages and/or palaeography is required, but the course will include (voluntary) reading practice in order for participants to gain familiarity with the practices of Insular scribes. 

Courses fees are £100 (standard) and £75 (student).

Bibliography

T J Brown, A Palaeographer’s View, ed. J Bately, M Brown, and J Roberts (1993)   

Michelle Brown, ‘Writing in the Insular World’, The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, I, c. 400-1100, ed. Richard Gameson (2012), 121-66.   

Julia Crick, ‘English Vernacular Script’, The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, I, c. 400-1100, ed. Richard Gameson (2012), 174-86.   

Julia Crick, ‘The art of writing: scripts and scribal production’, The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature, ed. Clare Lees (2012), 50-72.   

Mary P. Richards, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: Basic Readings (Routledge, 1994).   

Course Convenor