Northern English Books, Owners, and Makers in the Late Middle Ages

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Syracuse University Press, 1995 - Art - 423 pages
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Challenging an earlier view that hand-produced books before the age of print in northern England were few, purely practical, and crudely written and decorated. John B. Friedman seeks to enlighten readers on the value of their true aesthetic sensibility. Using over 200 relatively unknown manuscripts from the area, he reveals an active northern book trade at York and Durham, which served a wide range of gentry, urban bourgeoisie, and ecclesiastical users. No other work on book production and patronage in the North of England at the end of the Middle Ages exists, and only a few studies in general look at the English provincial book trade.
Unlike many aristocratic manuscripts produced in London and typically related to the court or palace, northern manuscripts reflect social and religious changes and regional social currents. Friedman's thesis extends the geographic and class boundaries for the study of late medieval English manuscripts. His work dramatically reveals an unusually broad range of northern books in the mainstream of English taste, books that were used to convey the values of thriving merchants and ecclesiastical figures. In addition to historians and manuscript specialists, this book will have a strong appeal to antiquarians and bibliophiles of the English language.

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Northern Professional Scribes and Scribe Families
Color and the Archaizing Style
The Interlace and Mask Medallion Style
Hermits Painted at the Front
Three Northern Magnates as Book Patrons

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About the author (1995)

John B. Friedman is Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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