Conference

CMS Conference: Writing Europe before 1450

The increasingly widespread recognition that print entered a world already characterized by a sophisticated market for the production, exchange and sale of written texts suggests that explorations of this textual culture can fruitfully elucidate the prolonged and varied processes through which Europe and its constituent localities entered into modern reading, writing and communicative practices. Writing Europe: A Colloquium aims to draw on a range of approaches and perspectives to exchange ideas about manuscript studies, material culture, multilingualism in texts and books, book history, readers, audience and scribes across the medieval period and beyond.

How did local writers, compilers and readers use writing to inscribe regional identity within broader conventions or, on the other hand, impress 'universal' practices and constructs on local populations? In what way did the spread of sacred writing from the Mediterranean to the northern and eastern edges of Europe contribute to or reflect the creations of (both material and cultural) peripheries and centers? What were the different markets for books; can we characterize their developments and differences? How do the dynamics (e.g. the production, consumption and regulation) of this textual culture in the Latin West compare with those found in other places and periods?  What new or existing methodologies can be employed to map the geographies of written words across Europe? Finally, to what extent does the examination of these issues support or undermine temporal and geographical bifurcations of the world into modern and 'not'.

The conference is organised by CMS (University of Bergen) in cooperation with the University of Leicester.