University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Working with Pre-modern Manuscripts (CLLC11129)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers students a first introduction to manuscript study and the skills involved in working with manuscripts. Seminars on the manuscript cultures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance will accompany an introduction to basic principles of palaeography, codicology and textual editing. Classes will focus on particular manuscript examples from a range of periods and languages, aiming through them to raise issues, concepts and methodologies which will be relevant to all students working on pre-modern manuscripts. In the latter part of the course each student will work on an individual manuscript project within their own area of specialisation.
Course description Week 1 Introduction to the course. (Held in the Centre for Research Collections. All seminars will involve looking at original manuscript material from a range of periods, areas and genres.)

Week 2 Palaeography (Identifying letters. Changing letter forms. Contractions. Hands and scripts.)

Week 3: Transcription: conventions and skills.

Week 4: From manuscript to print: exploring a range of manuscripts from different periods, genres and languages, held in the National Library of Scotland.

Week 5: Manuscripts and textual editing. (What is involved in the transition from a pre-modern manuscript to a modern edition?)

Week 6 Reading Week

Week 7: Interpreting manuscripts: materials, construction/layout, penmanship, language, date/provenance.

Week 8: Preparation for manuscript project. Writing an introduction.

Weeks 9-11: During these weeks students will work with an original manuscript on a small textual project in their own area of study, resulting in a transcription/edition. This time will also include a student-led meeting for the whole class to discuss issues arising from the projects, and opportunity for further workshop practice in palaeography.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students from programmes other than Medieval Literatures and Cultures may take this course but must discuss first with the Course Organiser.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 16, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 2, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Textual Project involving palaeography and textual editing (100%)
Feedback Two formative practice exercises on aspects of the final project (transcription and editing) will be undertaken during the course, and returned with individual feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. acquire a basic knowledge of the history of manuscripts through the Middle Ages and Renaissance
  2. develop a recognition of the issues involved in working with and interpreting pre-modern manuscripts
  3. understand the underlying principles of palaeography and the conventions of transcription, and the questions raised by codicology and textual editing
  4. develop practical skills in reading, transcribing and interpreting a particular manuscript relating to their own area of research
Reading List
Bischoff, Bernhard. 1990. Latin palaeography : antiquity and the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cappelli, Adriano, David Heimann, and Richard Kay. 1982. The elements of abbreviation in medieval Latin paleography, University of Kansas publications. Lawrence: Universiy of Kansas Libraries.

Cappelli, Adriano. 1979. Lexicon abbreviaturarum : dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane usate nelle carte e codici specialmente del Medio-Evo, riprodotte con oltre 14000 segni incisi, con l'aggiunta di uno studio sulla brachigrafia medioevale, un prontuario di sigle epigrafiche, l'antica numerazione romana ed arabica ed i segni indicanti monete, pesi, misure, etc. 6a ed, Manuali Hoepli. Milano: Hoepli ;.

Clanchy, M. T. 1993. From memory to written record : England 1066-1307. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell.

Crick, Julia C., and Alexandra Walsham. 2004. The uses of script and print, 1300-1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Denholm-Young, N. 1964. Handwriting in England and Wales. 2nd ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Great Britain. Scottish Record Office. 1994. Scottish handwriting, 1500-1700 : a self-help pack. Edinburgh: Scottish Record Office.

Hector, L. C. 1966. The handwriting of English documents. 2nd ed. London: Edward Arnold.

Parkes, M. B. 1979. English cursive book hands, 1250-1500. Repr. with minor revisions. ed. London,.

Parkes, M.B. 1973. The Literacy of the Laity. In Literature and Western Civilization: Vol 2 The Medieval World, edited by D. D. a. A. Thorlby. London: Aldus.

Simpson, Grant G. 1998. Scottish handwriting, 1150-1650 : an introduction to the reading of documents. East Linton: Tuckwell Press.

On-line resources:
A wiki will be used to provide support material and links to general and specific on-line palaeographic resources:

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Carpenter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3608
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information