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Home > Stories > The History of Marginalia: medieval manuscripts

The History of Marginalia: medieval manuscripts

06 September 2021

In the first episode of our three-part series on the history of marginalia, Des Cowley (Principal Librarian of History of the Book and Arts) and Anna Welch (Senior Librarian of History of the Book and Arts) introduce us to the historic practice and explore a medieval example found in the Library’s collection.

What is marginalia?

At the heart of it, marginalia are anything written around the edges of the page in a book. In the video above, we explore the type found in medieval manuscripts.

This type of marginalia is decorative and made to be part of the book. It’s often some of the quirkiest marginalia you can find, and pokes fun at some of the more typically serious subjects.

More to explore

Take a closer look at the collection item featured in this video.