Participatory reading in late-medieval England

Description
This book traces affinities between digital and medieval media, exploring how reading functioned as a nexus for concerns about increasing literacy, audiences' agency, literary culture and media formats from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries. Drawing on a wide range of texts, from well-known poems of Chaucer and Lydgate to wall texts, banqueting poems and devotional works written by and for women, Participatory reading argues that making readers work offered writers ways to shape their reputations and the futures of their productions. At the same time, the interactive reading practices they promoted enabled audiences to contribute to - and contest - writers' burgeoning authority, making books and reading work for everyone.
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Endorsements

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 have 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 will be 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.

Reviews

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 have 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 will be 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.

Author Biography

Dr Anke Bernau is Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Culture at the University of Manchester

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Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: May 2018
  • 9781526118011 / 1526118017
  • United Kingdom
  • ePub
  • Manchester University Press
  • Readership: General/trade
  • Publish State: Published
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture
  • Reference Code: 9548