Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.
Manchester University Press
New perspectives on socially engaged performance
Manchester University Press
Copyright © Manchester University Press 2020
While copyright in the volume as a whole is vested in Manchester University Press, copyright in individual chapters belongs to their respective authors, and no chapter may be reproduced wholly or in part without the express permission in writing of both author and publisher.
An electronic version of this book is also available under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND) licence which permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction provided the editors and Manchester University Press are fully cited and no modifications or adaptations are made. Details of the licence can be viewed at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/uk/
Published by Manchester University Press
Altrincham Street, Manchester M1 7JA
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978 1 5261 4680 9 hardback
ISBN 978 1 5261 4681 6 open access
First published 2020
The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for any external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
Cover: Photograph by Matthew Andrews