Paleography

Paleography is the study (and deciphering) of ancient handwriting. I don't spend much time on paleography in my medieval courses. Most students are doing well to conquer Middle English in typeset, normalized student editions, without tackling the vagaries of medieval scribes and their peculiarities. I won't ask you to "read" a manuscript without access to, at minimum, a transcription of its texts, and usually I try to match manuscripts with student editions or translations.

But for those of you who are interested, here are a few resources that you can consult on your own.

Books of Hours

In my medieval manuscripts course, we frequently work intently with Books of Hours -- digital facsimiles from other libraries as well as specimens available at the UGA Special Collections Library. The resources below are to help both the neophyte and the experienced student engage with these complex books. This page will be in constant evolution as the manuscript/Books of Hours courses shift; suggestions welcome.

Language Aids

Trying to read your first lines of Middle English on your own? Reading an edition that never glosses the words you don't understand? Preparing for an oral reading? Writing a paper and wanting to talk about Chaucer's use of a certain word? Start here to get a handle on Middle English comprehension, pronunciation, and syntax (i.e., word order).