Manuscript culture  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Manuscript culture refers to the development and use of the manuscript as a means of storing and disseminating information until the age of printing. The Early Age of manuscript culture consisted of monks copying mostly religious text in monasteries. Medieval manuscript culture deals with the transition of the manuscript from the monasteries to the market in the cities, and the rise of universities. Manuscript culture in the cities created new jobs built around the making, copying and trade of manuscript, and typically was regulated by universities. The Late Age of manuscript culture existed immediately preceding and during the rise of the printing press. Late manuscript culture was characterized by a desire for uniformity, well ordered and convenient access to the text contained within, and ease of reading the text aloud. It directly grew out of the Fourth Lateran Council and the rise of the Devotio Moderna. It included a change in materials (with a switch from vellum to paper), and was subject to remediation by the printed book, while also influencing it.

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