Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World
To be Medieval is to be bookish. As Lewis explains in The Discarded Image "If [the Medieval] culture is regarded as a response to environment, then the element in that environment to which it responded most vigorously were manuscripts” (5).
Admittedly, this is a book that I first pulled from the shelves of my local bookstore for it's aesthetic charm.* The cover was gorgeous! But, as the text is primarily about craftsmanship and preservation, it seems only natural that it should itself be presented in the same way. De Hamel has spent his life studying and cataloging manuscripts and he carefully records his own interactions with each manuscript, what is known (and what is speculated) about the history of each manuscript, and creation of each manuscript. A teacher just beginning to delve into Medieval History may feel that that it is too specialized to yet be of benefit, but, again, I invoke Lewis' observation. Understanding medieval culture is understanding their books.
*And, I admired it for months on that shelf in my local bookstore before finally deciding to splurge on it's purchase for my personal collection.
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