This portfolio takes a comparative approach to manuscript studies, textual studies, and book history. It includes manuscripts and early print texts from the Ottoman Empire, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Iran, and northern, western and southern Europe. Some use paper, others use an animal skin such as calf or sheepskin. Some are highly decorated with manuscript illuminations and stylized script, others are simply text.
Because of its geographic breadth, this portfolio is suitable to textual studies courses in a variety of fields. For courses on the history of the book, it provides a diverse range of manuscript quality, origin, purpose, and text. Taken altogether or in smaller groupings, it raises issues surrounding material culture, premodern historiography, and the production of texts more generally. The presence in this portfolio of manuscripts made well after the spread of the printing press also invites questions about the complex reasons people seek out handmade texts.