This electronic reference tool makes accessible for the first time information on more than 8,500 incipits (the first lines of manuscripts) from the earliest significant body of technical and learned writing in English. Linda Ehrsam Voigts and Patricia Deery Kurtz have spent more than a decade compiling the data that is the foundation of this much-needed research tool. The resulting CD-ROM contains both a searchable database and an electronic catalogue accompanied by six indices.
The data collection includes Old and Middle English manuscripts found in American and British museums and libraries. It provides cross references between prologues and texts--which sometimes have textual histories independent of one another--and between Latin and English opening words. Searchable fields include: author, subject, title, translator, manuscript, subject, and bibliographical information.
The variety of search possibilities and the conven- ience of having so many texts available will enable the experienced scholar and curious student to make connections previously unthinkable, enhancing knowledge of medieval scientific thought, dissemination of ideas, and technical writing.
Linda Ehrsam Voigts is Curators' Professor of English, University of Missouri, Kansas City. Patricia Deery Kurtz is Adjunct Professor, William Jewell College.
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