Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines images of books in English manuscripts, c. 1360–1500. Through an analysis of one hundred manuscripts with such images, I demonstrate that medieval artists developed a shared idea of the book through the depiction of specific codicological features: wordless or illegible pages in board bindings with clasps. The coherent representation of these aspects of manuscripts emphasizes books as tactile, material objects. When artists diverged from the archetypal book, they often responded to the image’s textual context. Together, these imaginary books provoke readers to consider the materiality of the manuscripts as they read.

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