[Review] The Gilded Page: The Secret Lives of Medieval Manuscripts by Mary Wellesley

Publisher and Publication Date: Basic Books. October 12, 2021.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Medieval history. Europe. Church history in England.
Pages: Hardcover edition holds 352 pages.
Format: E-book copy. The review copy does not have illustrations included. The hard copy does have illustrations.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book from NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of medieval history especially those who love English church history.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon.

Link @ Barnes and Noble.

Link @ Basic Books.

Author webpage: Mary Wellesley/ Goodreads.

Summary:

The Gilded Page is a complete study of medieval books and manuscripts. The book begins with how a page is created. It includes the transition through the years of the types of materials that were used to create pages in the Middle Ages.

The Gilded Page is a history of the people who were involved in the creation of; and those who owned and treasured the manuscripts and books.

The Gilded Page is a book for book lovers to pour over and enjoy!

My Thoughts:

The Gilded Page is an informative, descriptive, well-researched, insightful, and fascinating study of the written page in medieval England.

Medieval history is one of my favorite time periods to read and study. I especially enjoy reading about early Christian history in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I love reading about the monarchy. I love reading about the common people of the Middle Ages. For example, Margery Kempe.

A jewel of this book, and it is a pleasant surprise, is the history of the people who were involved with these manuscripts and books. This includes information about those who rescued these artifacts from doom. I especially love the stories of the Cuthbert Gospel, the Cotton Library, Queen Emma, Henry VIII’s private prayer book, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and Welsh poetry.

I’ve read several books on Henry VIII. This is the first book with information about him that personalized and showed a humane side of him. In his prayer book he made notations at certain passages. These passages resonated with him in his mind and spirit. I love this!

The Gilded Page is one of the top books that I’ve enjoyed reading in 2021. Bravo, Mary Wellesley!

*The review copy held no illustrations for me to view. I found the following illustrations at Wikipedia, and they are in the public domain. I am sharing with my readers what I found online.

St. Cuthbert Gospel. The beginning of the text.
Emma receiving the book, Encomium Emmae. This work is a selection of her life during the period she was married to Cnut. Emma of Normandy was Queen of England twice (married to two different Kings.)
Winchester Bible. From the page on the life of King David.
From the Lindisfarne Gospel. The illustration is from the Gospel of Matthew. It is Matthew the Evangelist.

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