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‘Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts’

Christopher de Hamel

Allen Lane

This is a book about why medieval manuscripts matter. Coming face to face with an important illuminated manuscript in the original is rather like meeting a very famous person. We may all pretend that a well-known celebrity is no different from anyone else, and yet there is an undeniable thrill in actually meeting and talking to a person of world stature.

The idea for this book, which is entirely new, is to invite the reader into an intimate conversation with a selection of the most famous manuscripts in existence, and to let each of those manuscripts illuminate the Middle Ages and sometimes the modern world too. ‘Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts’ invites the reader to accompany the author on exclusive visits to a dozen very varied collections, in different parts of the world, to discover twelve great manuscripts and to explore their historical and intellectual significance.

2017

Winner
  • Christopher de Hamel’s outstanding and original book pushes the boundaries of what it is and what it means to write history. By framing each manuscript of which he writes as the story of his own personal encounter with it, he leads the reader on many unforgettable journeys of discovery and learning. Deeply imaginative, beautifully written, and unfailingly humane, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts distils a lifelong love of these astonishing historical treasures, which the author brings so vividly to life. It is a masterpiece.

David Cannadine, chair of judges