Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Medieval Academy books online

I have previously written about the Viking Society’s having undertaken the project of bringing its out-of-print (and even its new) books to readers in electronic format, completely free of charge. I hoped that other academic publishers would follow suit, and that this would become a “new model for academic publishing”. Well, I am very happy to report today that a another publisher has joined the party: the Medieval Academy of America (publisher of the journal Speculum).

Funded with $120,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Medieval Academy has produced thirty-eight “Retrospective Digital Editions of Print Editions Published by The Medieval Academy of America, 1925–2001”, half of which had gone out of print. These electronic texts include “editions of Medieval Latin, [and the] major vernaculars: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Welsh. Poetry and music are found in addition to prose works. By treating literary, philosophical, scientific, commercial, documentary, political, and religious texts, the project will provide multiple points of entry to the Middle Ages.” All thirty-eight are currently available in PDF format, entirely free of charge (though still under copyright protection), with HTML-formatted versions to come.

There’s plenty of variety here, so medievalists of all stripes are bound to find at least a few treasures. Some of the highlights for me, which I’ve already downloaded:
  • Hammer, Jacob, ed. Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia regum Britanniae: A Variant Version Edited from Manuscripts. Medieval Academy Books, No. 57 (1951)
  • O’Neill, Patrick P. King Alfred’s Old English Prose Translation of the First Fifty Psalms. Medieval Academy Books, No. 104 (2001) [SCORE! :)]
  • Parry, John Jay. Brut Y Brenhinedd: Cotton Cleopatra Version. Medieval Academy Books, No. 27 (1937)
  • Selmer, Carl. Middle High German Translations of the Regula Sancti Benedicti: The Eight Oldest Versions. Medieval Academy Books, No. 17 (1933)


  1. Beautiful! Thank you, Jason. :)

  2. Wagh, four cartularies! <greedily downloads> Many thanks for the notice!

  3. So glad to have been of help! I must tip my hat to my friend, Marca, a reference librarian in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was Marca who first let me know about this. :)

  4. Jason brilliant just downloaded all these to the new iPad take care. Andy