The Reading of Books and the Reading of Literature

Forming the English Canon > Confessio Amantis in Manuscript

This manuscript’s large size, gilt letters, rich illustration, and apparent costliness indicate that its early owners valued the text highly. Indeed, it is beautiful to look at.

Because this text was so lavishly illustrated, it became a prime target for thievery. A valuable illuminated leaf has been removed from this text and lost to time.

One of this book’s readers took a break from Gower’s verse to draw some stags running across the page. Perhaps the reader was bored with the text. He may also have been tempted by the large amount of blank paper in the volume.

Because the manuscript has ample margins, there is plenty of space for a reader’s notes. In addition to drawing deer, an early reader of the text wrote marginal comments in the volume.

Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /