Rare Book School

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H-20. The Book in the Manuscript Era

Will Noel

An introduction to the MS book in the West that covers the period from late antiquity to the beginning of the c16, using the manuscript resources of the Walters Art Museum. Topics include: the book form; its materials and construction; the writing and decorating of books; different types of books: biblical, theological, historical, poetic, legal, classical, liturgical and devotional; the histories of books; the manuscript book in the digital age. This is the first course in a three-part sequence that includes The Printed Book in the West to 1800 (H-30) and The Printed Book in the West since 1800 (H-40).

This course is intended for those who seek a general overview of the MS book in Europe. The course is aimed at beginners, but the instructor will assume that students have a general knowledge of European history during the period covered. Some knowledge of Latin or a modern foreign language would be useful, but not necessary.

In their personal statement, applicants should describe the nature of their developing interest in the history of the book and (if relevant) explain briefly the causes of this interest and the purposes to which they propose to put the knowledge gained from the course.

Course Resources

Course History


Will Noel teaches this course for the first time.


Barbara A. Shailor teaches this course for the first time.