Engaging Words

The Culture of Reading in the Later Middle Ages

  • Authors
  • Laurel Amtower

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 1-16
  3. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 17-43
  4. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 79-120
  5. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 121-144
  6. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 145-181
  7. Laurel Amtower
    Pages 183-187
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 189-243

About this book


Acts of reading appear everywhere in the late Middle Ages, from the margins of Books of Hours to self-portraits of authors in their studies. What relevance did this image have for the late medieval imagination? Engaging Words is an interdisciplinary study on the conception of reading in late medieval society. Beginning with an examination of the social conditions that produced a viable reading public, the book proceeds to examine popular tastes, the interrelationship between manuscript form and content, and finally the theory and poetry of late medieval authors. By drawing on images from late medieval culture as well as from historical documents and literary texts, Engaging Words shows how reading became a cultural metaphor in the late Middle Ages that transformed the way the Western world thought about identity and social roles.


culture history identity Late Middle Ages Middle Ages society Tradition

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2000
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-63000-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-349-62998-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site