Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.
Ahlam Alaki is a doctoral student at the University of East Anglia, Norwich in England. Her areas of research interest include: The Arabian Nights; Arabic oral and folk literature; symbolism in Arabic artistic and architectural forms; the figure of Shahrazad in relation to women’s writing and relations between women; Gothic literature. She has published articles in three major Saudi Arabian daily newspapers.
Neil Cornwell is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of Bristol, England. He is editor of the Reference Guide to Russian Literature (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998); The Gothic-Fantastic in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature (Rodopi, 1999); The Routledge Companion to Russian Literature (2001); and (with Maggie Malone) the ‘New Casebook’ on The Turn of the Screw and What Maisie Knew (Macmil-lan, 1998). His authored books include: The Literary Fantastic: From Gothic to Postmodernism (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990); Pushkin’s ‘The Queen of Spades’ (Bristol Classical Press, 1993); and Valdimir Nabokov (Northcote House, 1999). He is currently writing a study of the absurd in literature.
Joan Curbet is a lecturer in English Literature at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. He has published widely on the subject of the transition between sacred and secular discourse from the Renaissance to Romanticism, concentrating on the work of authors such as Sir Thomas More, George Herbert, Teresa de Jesús and Edmund Spenser. He is the editor of Medieval Travel Writing 1096-1492: an Introduction (Peter Lang Press, 2002) and the author of a Spanish edition of Lord Byron’s Manfred (forthcoming, 2003).
Terry Hale is currently Research Fellow in the Performance Translation Centre at the University of Hull, England. His main research interest is the relation between translation and creative writing, both with regard to prose fiction and the theatre. He has published more than a dozen translations, including anthologies of detective fiction (Great French Detective Stories, 1983), the Surrealist short story (The Automatic Muse, 1994), and The Dedalus Book of French Horror: The Nineteenth Century (1998). His most recent work is a new translation of J.-K. Huysmans’s Là-bas (as The Damned ) for Penguin Classics (2001). He has also written extensively on the history and practice of literary translation.
Jerrold E. Hogle is Professor of English and University Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, U.S.A. The holder of several major research fellowships, he has written widely on British Romantic literature, literary and cultural theory, and the Gothic. His best-known book is Shelley’s Process (Oxford University Press, 1988) and he is a past president of the International Gothic Association. His latest book, The Undergrounds of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has recently been published by St. Martin’s Press/Palgrave, and he has edited the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction.
Avril Horner is Professor of English and a member of the European Studies Research Institute at the University of Salford, England. Her research interests and publications focus on twentieth-century literature and in particular on modern poetry, women’s writing and the Gothic. She is the co-author, with Sue Zlosnik, of Landscapes of Desire: Metaphors in Modem Women’s Fiction (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990) and Daphne du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic Imagination (Macmillan, 1998). She is currently working, with Sue Zlosnik, on Gothic and the Comic Turn, forthcoming from Macmillan.
Catherine Lanone is a Professor at the University of Toulouse II, France, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century English literature. She has published two books, one on E.M. Forster and one on Emily Brontё, as well as chapters and articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf. Her research interests include the significance of intertextual references and the rewriting of Gothic archetypes, particularly in the work of the Brontes and Angela Carter.
Robert Miles is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland. His publications include Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress (Manchester University Press, 1995); Gothic Writing 1750-1820: A Genealogy (1993; reprinted Manchester University Press, 2002) and Gothic Documents 1700-1820: A Sourcebook, ed. with E.J. Clery (Manchester University Press, 2000). From 1997-2001 he was president of the International Gothic Association.
Peter Mortensen was educated in Denmark and America and is assistant professor of English at Aarhus University, Denmark, where he teaches British literature. He has published critical essays on Wordsworth, Scott, Austen and Lawrence, and his current research centres on the interconnections between European and British writing during the Romantic period. He is currently finishing a book entitled Acts of Appropriation: Romantic Writing in an Age of Europhobia, in which he re-examines some Romantic writers’ creative responses to continental pre-Romanticism in an attempt to revive interest in European influences on British Romantic literature.
Victor Sage is Professor of English in the School of English and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. He is a novelist and short story writer, and has written extensively on the Gothic novel tradition. He is the author of Horror Fiction in the Protestant Tradition, 1988 and the editor of the casebook, The Gothick Novel, 1990. Recent publications include: Modern Gothic: A Reader (1997, co-edited with A. Lloyd Smith), new editions of Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (2000) and J.S. Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas (both for Penguin Classics). He is currently working on Le Fanu’s Gothic, a critical study of J.S. Le Fanu.
John Williams is a Reader in Literary Studies at the University of Greenwich, England. His William Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics was published in 1989 by Manchester University Press. His Literary Life of William Wordsworth was published by Macmillan in 1996, and this was followed by a volume on Mary Shelley in the same series in 2000. An essay on Percy Shelley and Wordsworth was included in Evaluating Shelley published by Edinburgh University Press in 1996. He has recently completed a book on Wordsworth for the Palgrave Critical issues series.
Angela Wright lectures on eighteenth-century and Romantic literature and literary theory at the University of Sheffield, England. Her research is focussed on English and French Gothic literature between 1790 and 1820. She has published articles on French melodrama, comparative Gothic literature and, from the English Gothic tradition, on Clara Reeve and Sophia Lee. She is currently undertaking research on radical women novelists who published with the Minerva Press in the 1790s and 1800s.