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"This introduction to medieval manuscript studies provides brief, digestible chapters and an abundance of high-quality, full-color photographs, many of them taken by the author ... With its topically organized chapters and thematic connections with present-day media culture, Kwakkel's book successfully fills the need for a sophisticated but welcoming invitation to codicology." Summing Up: Recommended - S. Downey, California University of Pennsylvania, CHOICE Reviews October 2019
"Kwakkel is to be applauded for what he has achieved, but then he always is at his very best when enthusing others about the myriad surprises that medieval manuscripts can reveal. If this book is not a staple of book history curricula within the next few years, I shall be astonished." - Leah Tether, University of Bristol, Plekos 21 (2019)
"This lasting insight, together with the wealth of information about medieval book culture and book production and the many beautiful illustrations, is the greatest recommendation to read this publication. Every archivist and historian can take advantage of it." - Wouter van Dijk Hereditas Nexus, February 2019. Read online.
This beautifully illustrated book provides an accessible introduction to the medieval manuscript and what it can tell us about the world in which it was made and used. Captured in the materiality of manuscripts are the data enabling us to make sense of the preferences and habits of the individuals who made up medieval society. With short chapters grouped under thematic headings, Books Before Print shows how we may tap into the evidence and explores how manuscripts can act as a vibrant and versatile tool to understand the deep historical roots of human interaction with written information. It highlights extraordinary continuities between medieval book culture and modern-world communication, as witnessed in medieval pop-up books, posters, speech bubbles, book advertisements, and even sticky notes.