This article focuses on the role of one of the most fundamental of medieval figures—the scribe, as well as on the products of scribes in the eighth to thirteenth centuries. It chiefly addresses how writing seems to have functioned and been conceived of and how present-day scholarly palaeographical methods do not always adjudicate medieval writing practices sensitively or convincingly. This matters, and especially so in our age of the digital aspect, since the inherited categories of description simply no longer hold force. What constitutes ‘bad handwriting’ then and is it, in fact, a description that can be validated by close analysis of scholarship and medieval writing practices?
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