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.
Manchester University Press
SERIES EDITOR JOHN THIEME
ALREADY PUBLISHED IN THE SERIES
Kazuo Ishiguro BARRY LEWIS
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Ngugi wa Thiong’o PATRICK WILLIAMS
Derek Walcott JOHN THIEME
Manchester University Press
Copyright © Bruce Woodcock 2003
The right of Bruce Woodcock to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First edition published 1996 by Manchester University Press
This edition published 2003 by Manchester University Press
Altrincham Street, Manchester, M1 7JA
ISBN 0 7190 6798 7 paperback
First published 2003
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