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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Research project: Manuscript Culture, 1450-1700 Research Network

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Manuscript sources from the late Medieval and Renaissance periods are often pieced together over an extended period of time, and frequently contain disparate content, including letters, music, illustrations, and even financial accounts. Such manuscripts pose a serious problem for scholars working within traditionally defined disciplinary boundaries, who may find that some of the material is difficult or impossible to interpret without the specialised knowledge of those from other disciplines.

The primary aim of the network is to address this problem: to provide opportunities for genuine interdisciplinary discussion which will enable scholars to share both theoretical perspectives and practical approaches to working with Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, recognizing them as material objects with diverse cultural implications, and to sow the seeds for future collaborative research.

The network, based in the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, began with a two day early career researchers' conference at Chawton House Library in Hampshire in February 2010, on the theme of collaboration and networks in English manuscript culture, c.1500-1700. The conference brought together forty scholars from across five different disciplines within the field of Humanities, both in the UK and the USA, and clearly demonstrated both the value of, and the interest in interdisciplinary collaboration for understanding manuscript collections.

The network now aims to promote a series of further conversations expanding on this topic, to include manuscripts from outside England, and from the slightly wider period of 1450-1700.

Medieval musical manuscript

Conferences and events associated with this project:

First Network Meeting and Manuscript Workshop, British Library - Friday 4th March 2011

Second Network Meeting and Manuscript Workshop: Merton College, Oxford Thursday 21 June 2012

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