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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: March 2012

14 - The circulation of books between England and the Continent, c. 871 – c. 1100



A compilation of Old Testament, liturgical and computistical texts that was written in northern France in the third quarter of the ninth century had apparently crossed the English Channel by the early tenth century when certain letters were retraced by an Anglo-Saxon hand. However, the volume ended up in Normandy, and subsequent additions suggest that it was there in the first half of the twelfth century and probably by 1100. This chapter deals with the books that were passed between England and the European Continent during the period c. 871 - c.1100. These include a copy of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae, and the first stratum of the Leofric Missal. Anglo-Saxon use of imported books is variously attested by occasional glosses such as when a Continental copy of Prosper was supplied with a nearly continuous gloss in Old English. By the second half of the tenth century, the traffic in books had become a two-way street.