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Medieval literature in Special Collections

Dante, Chaucer, Beowulf — have you ever wondered what medieval literature looked like to medieval readers?  Special Collections has hundreds of facsimiles of medieval manuscripts available for researchers, including facsimiles of some of the most celebrated examples of medieval bookmaking, like the Book of Kells or the Bible of St. Louis, and facsimiles of works of vernacular literature.  For example:

The Nowell codex is a famous Anglo-Saxon manuscript which contains copies of poems like Beowulf and Judith. The facsimile is one of a multi-volume series called Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile, which reproduces Old English literary and prose manuscripts held by libraries around the world.

  • Nowell Codex.  Early English manuscripts in facsimile, vol. 12.  Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1963. Call number: Rare Book Collection Quarto 091 Ea76 vol. 12

Special Collections has facsimiles of two different manuscripts of La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy) by Dante Alighieri, one from the Biblioteca Lolliniana di Belluno and another from the Vatican Library.

  • Il Dante urginate della Biblioteca Vaticana (Codice urbinate latino 365). Codices e Vaticanis selecti; v. 29.  Vatican City: Bilioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1965.  Call number: Vault Collection Quarto 851.15 D64t 1965 v.1-2
  • Divina commedia: manoscritto n. 35 della Biblioteca Lolliniana di Belluno. Belluno: Istituto bellunese di ricerche sociali e culturali, 1980.  Call number: Rare Book Collection Quarto PQ 4301 .A1 B5x 1980

Facsimiles of works by Geoffrey Chaucer include the famous Ellesmere Chaucer and other works held in British libraries:

  • The Canterbury tales: the new Ellesmere Chaucer monochromatic facsimile (of Huntington Library MS EL 26 C 9) . San Marino: Huntington Library; Tokyo: Yushodo, 1997.   Call number: Rare Book Collection Quarto PR 1866 .W66 1997
  • Troilus and Criseyde: a facsimile of Corpus Christi College Cambridge MS 61. Cambridge [Eng.]: D. S. Brewer, 1978.  Call number: Rare Book Collection Quarto PR 1895 .A2 1978

This facsimile of the Romance of the Rose by Jean de Meung and Guillaume de Lorris reproduces a manuscript created for a French king:

  • Der rosenroman fur Francois I. New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M. 948.  Codices selecti phototypice impressi; vol. 97. Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1993. Call number: Vault Collection 091 G946

An 11th century German translation of the Song of Roland:

  • Das Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad: Einführung zum Faksimile des Codex Palatinus Germanicus 112 der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Facsimilia Heidelbergensia; vol. 1.  Wiesbaden: Reichert , 1970.  Call number: Rare Book Collection PT 1553 .A1 1970

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