British Literary Manuscripts from Cambridge University Library

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Series One: The Medieval Age, c.1150 -- c.1500

The so-called "Dark Ages" were in fact a period of great literary creativity. This rich resource illuminates the full scope of medieval literary endeavor, from prose and poetry to saints' lives, homilies and scriptural paraphrases.

The medieval period marks a particularly fascinating time in the history of English Literature, when patterns of language usage began to shift. The vernacular was becoming an increasingly popular medium for literary expression, challenging the traditional dominance of Latin and French. For example, John Gower wrote in all three languages: the "Speculum Meditantis" in French, the "Vox Clamantis" in Latin and the "Confessio Amantis" in English. This change is reflected in the materials selected for this collection; although most can correctly be described as "English literature," written in the English of the day, where appropriate, a number of works in Latin or French are included.

Part One: Medieval Manuscripts Dd-Ff
17 reels Part Two: Medieval Manuscripts Gg-Ii
17 reels Part Three: Medieval Manuscripts Kk-Oo and Additional
15 reels Series Two: The English Renaissance, c.1500-c.1700

The English Renaissance scholars reinvigorated every aspect of cultural life, from political and religious belief to literature and art. Cambridge was at the center of this intellectual transformation. Many scholars of the English Renaissance studied there, in including Dean Colet, Roger Ascham, Sir Francis Bacon, Edmund Spencer, John Milton, Samuel Pepys and Thomas Campion. These figures exerted a profound influence on literary society.

Part One: Manuscript from the "Double Letter" Series
22 reels Part Two: Manuscript from the Additional series including the Sir Geoffrey Keynes Collection
13 reels

Complete collection: 84 reels