- The Electronic Beowulf, and: The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive, vol. 1: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS 201 (F), and: Ductus: a History of Handwriting, and: The Book of Kells (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 18, Number 2, January 2001
- pp. 156-160
- View Citation
- Additional Information
156 Reviews Echard's book is not without its faults, but they are mainly faults ofstyle and presentation of her material. It is not particularly easy or seductive to read, but then few scholarly books can boast that quality any more: it is a book that one must work hard at. The reader's effort is repaid in full, however, by some bold and exciting conclusions. The author does not merely assert Latin's equality of status and integrity with the vernaculars, but in fact claims more than that: i t is 'an unexplored treasure-trove whose echoes are to be seen in the vernacular Arthurian tradition' (p. 29). So not only does she deny that her Latin writers are poor and barren imitators of a dead tradition, but she insists that they are actually in the creative vanguard. This is exciting stuff, and i t is highly recommended. David Daintree Jane Franklin Hall University ofTasmania The Electronic Beowulf, ed. Kevin Kieman, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2000 (c.l999); 2 C D - R O M s ; ISBN 0-472-00260-0; R R P US$150. Langland, William, The Piers Plowman ElectronicArchive, vol. 1: Corpus Chr College, Oxford, MS 201 (F), ed. Robert Adams et al., Ann Arbor, Universi ofMichigan Press, 2000; 1 C D - R O M ; ISBN 0-472-00275-9; R R P US$52.50. Muir, Bernard J., Nick Kennedy and Graeme Smith, Ductus: a History ofHandwriting , Melbourne, Department of English, University of Melbourne, 2000; 1 C D - R O M ; AUS$60. The Book of Kells, ed. Bill Simpson. Dublin: Trinity College Dublin, 2000. 1 C D - R O M . R R P A U S $ 6 0 ; ISBN 0-904720-32-2. Despite predictions of their imminent demise, CD-ROMs continue to flouri as a means of publication for scholarly and educational resources. They are particularly appropriate for textual editions and course materials where a variety of media can be effectively combined. In the case of medieval history and literature, probably the most important ofthese media is the digital image, which can accurately reproduce original manuscripts. Four titles which take advantage ofthe possibilities of C D - R O M s for medieval studies have recently been released. All will become essential publications for students and researchers in their fields. The Electronic Beowulf has been more than six years in the making - the product of a team led by Kevin Kiernan of the University of Kentucky, with the Reviews 157 assistance of specialists like Andrew Prescott and Elizabeth Solopova. Various articles and papers recounting the history of the project are reproduced on this CD-ROM. Its main component is a series of digital images of manuscripts: the Beowulfmanuscript itself (from British Library M S Cotton Vitellius A.xv), the two transcripts of it made in 1787 and c. 1789 for G. J. Thorkelin (now in the Royal Library of Denmark), J. J. Conybeare's 1817 collation of the manuscript with Thorkelin'sfirstprinted edition, and Sir Frederic Madden's 1824 collation. Also reproduced are the other contents of Cotton Vitellius A.xv - the Southwick and Nowell codices. Accompanying these images are two textfiles:a transcript ofthe poem, and a new edition of it. There is also a glossary of the Old English words used in the poem, and a jSeovw^bibliography for the years 1990-1998. The second C D - R O M in the set contains further digital images of the Cotton Vitellius A.xv manuscript in two settings: facing pages, and by sheet collation (reconstructing the original quires). To use this publication on a P C requires at least a Pentium machine with 133 M H z and 32 M B of R A M , running Windows 95 or better. A PowerMac with 32 M B of R A M and M a c O S 8.1 will also run it, though a G 3 Macintosh is preferable. The viewing software required is Netscape 4.5 or better, together with the Java Runtime Environment plugin. Both these are included on the C D - R O M and can be easily installed from it. Macintoshes will require the M R J Plugin...