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Glossary (History of Reading)

The following are terms related to research in the history of reading.

Miniature

6. Illuminated matter or work; a picture in an illuminated manuscript, an illumination. In early use also: the action or process of rubricating letters or of illuminating a manuscript.” (From the OED.n.6)

Broadside

3. A sheet of paper printed on one side only, forming one large page.” (From the OED.n.)

Charter

“A leaf of paper (in OE. called bóc, BOOK); a legal document or ‘deed’ written (usually) upon a single sheet of paper, parchment, or other material, by which grants, cessions, contracts, and other transactions are confirmed and ratified.” (From the OED.n1)

Palimpsest

1. Paper, parchment, or other writing material designed to be reusable after any writing on it has been erased. b. In extended use: a thing likened to such a writing surface, esp. in having been reused or altered while still retaining traces of its earlier form; a multi-layered record.” (From the OED.n.A,1-2)

Parchment

1. a. A piece of animal skin, esp. from a sheep or goat, dressed and prepared as a surface for writing; a scroll or roll of this material; a manuscript or document written on this.” (From the OED.n.I,1)

Missal

1.The book containing the service of the Mass for the whole year; a mass-book. 2. A Roman Catholic book of devotions, esp. when illuminated; an illuminated book of hours, etc.” (From the OED.n1.I,1-2)

Incunabulum

A book printed using moveable type prior to the year 1501 AD.

Ruthwell Cross

7-8th century stone cross in Ruthwell, just south of Dumfries, Scotland. Latin and Runic inscriptions as well as pictorial images on each face of the cross.

Exemplar

A manuscript from which another is copied.

Antiphonary

“A book containing a set or collection of antiphons.” (From the OED.n.)

Psalter

I. 1. The Book of Psalms, as one of the books of the Old Testament b. A translation or particular version (prose or metrical) of the Book of Psalms c. A copy of, or a volume containing, the Psalms, esp. as arranged for liturgical or devotional use.” (From the OED.n.II.1, b-c)

Book of Hours

An illuminated manuscript used primarily from the 13th through 16th centuries; a personal prayer book for the laity to abide by the Christian church’s daily protocol of devotional prayer.

Illumination

6. a. The embellishment or decoration of a letter or writing with bright or luminous colours, the use of gold and silver, the addition of elaborate tracery or miniature illustrations, etc.: see ILLUMINATE v. 8. b. with pl. The designs, miniatures, and the like, employed in such decoration.” (From the OED.n.6,a-b)

Stylus

1. a. Antiq. An instrument made of metal, bone, etc., having one end sharp-pointed for incising letters on a wax tablet, and the other flat and broad for smoothing the tablet and erasing what is written. 1. Also applied to similar instruments in later use.” (From the OED.n.1,a)

Gloss

“A word inserted between the lines or in the margin as an explanatory equivalent of a foreign or otherwise difficult word in the text; hence applied to a simliar explanatory rendering of a word given in a glossary or dictionary. Also, in a wider sense, a comment, explanation, interpretation. Often used in a sinister sense: A sophistical or disingenuous interpretation. b. A collection of such explanations, a glossary; also, an interlinear translation of, or series of verbal explanations upon, a continuous text. 2. A poetical composition in which a stanza of some well-known poem is treated as a text for amplification, each of the successive stanzas of the ‘gloss’ being made to end with one of the lines or couplets of the text.” (From OED.n.1-2)

Scribe

“A writer; one whose business is writing. In various specific or limited applications; 3. Used as the official designation of various public functionaries performing secretarial duties. 4. a. One who writes at another’s dictation; an amanuensis. Obs. 5. A copyist, transcriber of manuscripts; now esp. the writer of a particular MS. copy of a classical or mediæval work.” (From the OED.n1.1, 3-5)

Scriptorium

“A writing-room; spec. the room in a religious house set apart for the copying of manuscripts.” (from the OED.n.)