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.

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Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media

self-interest, digital media can offer much to those studying media studies, literary culture, and book history in the late Middle Ages. In digital media, participation relates to interaction, which together have been used to emphasize the ground-breaking nature of the digital, initially perceived as setting ‘new’ media aside from ‘old’ media. While that divisive view has since diminished in the current approaches of digital media studies, which recognize greater continuity among historical forms of media, the attention given to participation still proves beneficial

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
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An introduction to his life and work

same way as the Hussites had been: condemned and rendered disordered and leaderless, their master executed as heretical and seditious.53 Unfashionable as it proved to be in the middle decades of the century, that radical treatment was the prescription unfolded in Braun’s juristic work. As a result, in Braun’s view we should see the Commentary and Cochlaeus’s twelve-book History of the Hussites as the twin panels of a diptych, together forming a thousand-page brief to the authorities against the dangers of Protestantism.54 The absence in the Commentary of sustained

in Luther’s lives
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Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book

, Lydgate also seeks to ensure the integrity of his text and its reputation along with his own, but he instead turns to his broad community of non-professional readers. Situating Chaucer, Lydgate, and Norton within the discourse of open and closed access asserts connection between the preand post-print media cultures. The analogues between medieval emendation invitations and modern editorial practices provide an alternative way to consider associational, rather than chronological, narratives of book history. 40 Participatory reading in late-medieval England Considering

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England