Despite a resurgence of interest in the history of the English language there is currently no book available to introduce readers to the scripts used in Old and Middle English writing. The best way to gain a sense of the changes in scripts across time is via visual example, and this book seeks to show the reader just why Middle English is different from Old English and at the same time to explain how the change is gradual. Important literary texts are illustrated to demonstrate the chronological progression of the writing, for example: Caedmon's Hymn (the earliest extant English poem); the opening of an Exeter Book poem; the Lindisfarne Gospels; the opening page of King Alfred's first translation; an illustrated version of the story of Abraham and Isaac; passages from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; early (Lalamon) and late tellings of the story of Arthur (Malory); contrasting manuscripts of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; Langland; and York plays. Each plate is reproduced full size where possible, accompanied by a full transcript, commentary and notes. Through visual examples, the reader will be introduced gradually to vocabulary suitable for the description of the script, so the book will be suitable for both a general and a student audience.
The British Library Publishing Division
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