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.
Series editors: Anke Bernau, David Matthews and James Paz
Series founded by: J. J. Anderson and Gail Ashton
Advisory board: Ruth Evans, Patricia C. Ingham, Andrew James Johnston, Chris Jones, Catherine Karkov, Nicola McDonald, Sarah Salih, Larry Scanlon and Stephanie Trigg
Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture publishes monographs and essay collections comprising new research informed by current critical methodologies on the literary cultures of the Middle Ages. We are interested in all periods, from the early Middle Ages through to the late, and we include post-medieval engagements with and representations of the medieval period (or ‘medievalism’). ‘Literature’ is taken in a broad sense, to include the many different medieval genres: imaginative, historical, political, scientific, religious. While we welcome contributions on the diverse cultures of medieval Britain and are happy to receive submissions on Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Latin and Celtic writings, we are also open to work on the Middle Ages in Europe more widely, and beyond.
Titles available in the series
15. The Scottish Legendary: Towards a poetics of hagiographic narration
16. Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
17. The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
18. Aspects of knowledge: Preserving and reinventing traditions of learning in the Middle Ages and (eds)
19. Visions and ruins: Cultural memory and the untimely Middle Ages
20. Participatory reading in late-medieval England
21. Affective medievalism: Love, abjection and discontent and
22. Performing women: Gender, self, and representation in late-medieval Metz
23. The politics of Middle English parables: Fiction, theology, and social practice
24. Contemporary Chaucer across the centuries , and (eds)
25. Borrowed objects and the art of poetry: Spolia in Old English verse
26. Rebel angels: Space and sovereignty in Anglo-Saxon England
27. A landscape of words: Ireland, Britain and the poetics of space, 700–1250
28. Household knowledges in late-medieval England and France and (eds)
29. Practising shame: Female honour in later medieval England
30. Dating Beowulf: Studies in intimacy and (eds)
Studies in intimacy
Manchester University Press
Copyright © Manchester University Press 2020
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British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978 1 5261 3643 5 hardback
ISBN 978 1 5261 3644 2 open access
First published 2020
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FRONT COVER—Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands and Thimble (photograph), 1919. The Art Institute of Chicago. Public Domain.