Matter and meaning in medieval books: The romance manuscript as sensory experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Over the past twenty years, growing interest in the sensory potential of romance manuscripts has led to new appraisals of documentary sources and refined codicological analyses. New evidence of aural reception has been found in textual references, scribal practices, and images. Image-text studies have revealed the intervisual relationships between manuscripts and material culture, and the "cinematic" presence that books engendered. The correlation between eating and public reading implicates taste and smell in the use and interpretation of these manuscripts. The material quality of parchment reflects different forms of manufacture and handling, and makes manuscripts mute doublings of living human skin. Romance manuscripts were vehicles for the reinforcement of social ties through communal perception, and for more intimate contact through erotic reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalSenses and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Bodley 264
  • Codicology
  • Medieval romance
  • Memory
  • Orality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Matter and meaning in medieval books: The romance manuscript as sensory experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this