Manuscripts as networks

Manuscripts as networks: transmitting texts and information in early medieval England (funded by the British Academy).

This project uses computer-based (semantic web) technologies to explore medieval manuscripts as key points in networks of people, information and trade; and to investigate how treating manuscripts in this way can inform approaches to and methodologies for the study and editing of medieval texts. My case-study is a group of manuscripts connected with Archbishop Wulfstan (d.1023), dating from the late tenth century to the twelfth. Scholars have tended to explore the texts in these manuscripts with a view to ascertaining an authorial original and hierarchical relationships between surviving copies of the texts. However the manuscripts themselves were produced for specific practical circumstances, and texts and information travelled physically – with people as agents – rather than only intellectually. By using technology to identify links and patterns I will develop new methodologies for understanding texts and manuscripts which treat each book as a cultural artefact representing both the changing circumstances and reuse of texts as well as the movements of individuals and information.

With thanks to Tracing Networks!

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