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History Books in the Anglo-Norman World c.1100-c.1300

Final Report Summary - HISTORY BOOKS (History Books in the Anglo-Norman World c.1100-c.1300)

The History Books project explored the manufacture of manuscripts containing historical texts in the lands controlled by the kings of England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The project focused on surviving manuscripts, examining their structure, page layout, contents and signs of use to explore the evidence for the makers, audiences and functions of these volumes. It demonstrated the value of working with manuscripts, as well as printed editions of texts, to understand how and why histories were produced at particular places and times, and addressed them as made objects rather than pieces of literature. Bringing together specialist researchers in history, art history, literary studies and palaeography through a conference, lecture series, and visiting fellowships, the project facilitated interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research into medieval manuscripts. The project’s findings were presented to the scholarly community and the wider public at the project’s conference, held in Dublin in 2015, the proceedings of which will be published in 2017, as well as in articles by the Fellow and the visiting researchers, participation in other conferences and guest lectures, and the organisation of two exhibitions of manuscripts (versions of which are available online). In particular, the project drew upon the remarkable and under-researched collection of manuscripts at Trinity College Dublin (the host institution). The project hosted five visiting researchers and two post-doctoral researchers, all of whom focused their research on manuscripts in Trinity College’s collections. The manuscripts were also the basis for the exhibitions, which were held in the Long Room at Trinity College and were open to the general public. In 2013-14 the project supported three MPhil students and the Fellow developed a new taught postgraduate module on medieval manuscripts. This module is now taught regularly and is popular with students, providing an opportunity for research-led teaching in this area.
In addition to editing the proceedings of the project’s conference, the Fellow has published a peer-reviewed article and five papers in conference proceedings from material studied in this project. She is also working on a monograph on illuminated history books in the Anglo-Norman World, which should be completed in 2016. The Fellow organised two sessions on the subject of 'history books' at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2014 and co-organised a conference on manuscripts from Reading Abbey (held at the University of Reading in 2015). The Fellow is now co-editing the proceedings of that conference. In addition, the Fellow presented the findings of her research at numerous conferences and invited lectures. The Fellow was invited to join the Leverhulme Trust-funded New Interpretations on the Angevin World network (based at the University of East Anglia), which provided a further opportunity to disseminate the results of the research. As a result the Fellow has established herself in the field. The project has developed a new approach to the study of medieval historiography and shed new light on under-studied manuscripts and collections. It has proved to be of value to historians, art historians and literary specialists, as well as of interest to the general public, and has raised the profile of the Fellow and host institution. The project’s final (forthcoming) publications will increase its impact on scholarship. The Fellow was appointed to a permanent post at Trinity College Dublin in 2014. The project's webpage is: