What can stories of magical engraved rings or prophetic inscriptions on walls tell us about how writing was perceived before print transformed the world? Writing beyond Pen and Parchment introduces readers to a Middle Ages where writing is not confined to manuscripts but is inscribed in the broader material world, in textiles and tombs, on weapons or human skin. Drawing on the work done at the Collaborative Research Centre “Material Text Cultures,” (SFB 933) this volume presents a comparative overview of how and where text-bearing artefacts appear in medieval German, Old Norse, British, French, Italian and Iberian literary traditions, and also traces the paths inscribed objects chart across multiple linguistic and cultural traditions. The volume’s focus on the raw materials and practices that shaped artefacts both mundane or fantastical in medieval narratives offers a fresh perspective on the medieval world that takes seriously the vibrancy of matter as a vital aspect of textual culture often overlooked.
R.Wagner, Univ. of Bern, Switzerland,
C. Neufeld, Eastern Michigan Univ, USA and
L. Lieb, Heidelberg Univ., Germany.