Textual Stowaways: Unseen Early Modern Travels of Medieval Texts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The medieval and early modern periods were less wasteful than our current era and used resources more sustainably. It was common practice to recycle the parchment of old or unwanted books and documents in the construction of new books, as coverings, pastedowns, and spine guards. As a result, fragments of medieval manuscripts have travelled unseen for many centuries, stowed away within the physical structures of early modern printed books; in many cases it is only as older bindings have begun to fail and required conservation that their hidden textual components have been revealed. This essay discusses this phenomenon, drawing its examples from the holdings of the University of St Andrews. It concentrates on books printed in Germany in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and the stowaway medieval texts that have come to light in their bindings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTravelling Texts - Texts Travelling
Subtitle of host publicationA Gedenkschrift in Memory of Hans Sauer
EditorsRenate Bauer, Christine Elsweiler, Ulrike Krischke, Kerstin Majewski
Place of PublicationMunich
PublisherUtz Verlag
ISBN (Electronic)9783831677542
ISBN (Print)9783831649969
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameEnglish and Beyond


  • Manuscript
  • Medieval
  • Printed book
  • Fragment


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