Call for Articles:
Individuality and Tradition in Medieval Book Culture. A Comparative Approach to Variation

Deadline: July 15th 2020
The articles should be sent to

Any work with medieval manuscripts implies studying hundreds of variants. The 20th century witnessed a dramatic change in the approaches towards this variation, from the search for the Graal of the reconstructed original to the humble appreciation of any individual manuscript as it is. The latter approach has been developing since the famous manifest, first proposed in the essay by Bernard Cerquiglini and then picked up by Steven Nichols — to understand the medieval book culture, one needs to recognise variation as an integral part of medieval literacy that cannot be put aside but has to be studied on its own.

The variation manifest going hand in hand with the appreciation of orality in medieval intellectual culture has given rise to new approaches towards variation in the individual regional manuscript traditions. Thus, it seems of great interest to see whether variation itself can vary in any way from tradition to tradition, from context to context. This issue aims to collect examples of the approaches towards variation in different regions of medieval literacy, not only stimulated by the variation manifest but also ones that had a separate history of dealing with medieval variation. The collection will render to comparative perspective both on the variation and on the ways the scholars coming from different backgrounds developed by long traditions of their predecessors as well as the particularities of their subjects approach this subject .

Possible topics might include — but are not limited to:

  • Manuscript variation in different language cultures of the Middle Ages;
  • Variation and working strategies of medieval scribe;
  • Oral and written in the medieval book culture;
  • Place of the retelling in the medieval book culture;
  • Variation in specific contexts;
  • Variation and methodology of its research in medieval studies.

We also welcome reviews of recently published books on the topic (no more than 3 years old).

Guidelines for Submitting and Formatting of Manuscripts