Digital Text Libraries
Illuminated Manuscript and Book Libraries

What is an Illuminated Manuscript?
These links can help explain:
  • The British Library (as ever excellent) offers this overview.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent, offers this origin of the illuminated manuscript.

Christian Text Libraries:
  • This wonderful, three page 'Links Library' of Early Christian Writers comes through the Diocese of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Links to everywhere, including many primary texts. Homepage, http://www.catholic-jhb.org.za
  • Glenn Gunhouse offers this fabulous resource through the the-orb.net:  a Parallel Latin/English Psalter, where the text, in Latin and English, appears side by side.
  • Another site which offers an English-Latin parallel translation of the bible is http://www.latinvulgate.com/ where the Latin Vulgate Bible, the Douay-Rheims Bible, and King James English Version are available side by side.

Illuminated Manuscript Libraries:
  • Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts through the 'Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts' from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, or National Library of the Netherlands, and the Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum.
  • Though these are not illuminated manuscripts, the British Library's collection of Early Photographically Illustrated Books online are worth mentioning here.  These books were among the first to use photographs as illustrations. 
  • Leaves of Gold Gallery. "Treasures of Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections."  From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries.
  • The Bodleian Library, though the University of Oxford contains manuscripts from a number of colleges and universities.  Also check the University of Oxford's image page, where many images are available at a high resolution, http://image.ox.ac.uk/
  • The French National Library (La Bibliothèque nationale de France) has extensive collections of illustrated manuscripts through to the victorian, and even modern period, from their Lumieres pages.  French National Library homepage, http://www.bnf.fr/
  • Terrific Manuscript Links can be found though the Labyrinth, http://labyrinth.georgetown.edu/

Digitized Books & Literary Texts:
  • No list of text libraries can be complete without mention of the-orb.net.  This extensive database of primary texts throughout history is an amazing cultural resource.  The Orb Reference Shelf will get you just about anywhere you ever wanted to go, including a link to The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and the Labyrinth.
  • ibiblio digital archive, formerly Sunsite, comes to the web through the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  The site seeks to provide free and open resources, a "collections of collections" on the Internet, [...] including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies."
  • And, of course, the one and only--one of the first!--Bartleby.com "Great Books Online."
  • Octavo.com is also worth a peek.  They also offer editions for sale.
  • Matthew Steggle's Early Modern Literary Studies page has links to many literary works, including those of Edmund Spencer, William Shakespeare, Pliny, and Rene Descarte.  He includes many links to the University of Toronto's Representative Poetry Online, pages, which are also a terrific resource.
  • I liked this little site.  Not a mega collection, I Remain focuses on digitizing letters and the written miscellany of daily life.  A wonderful idea, and a really interesting site though Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
  • How about this!  The Booke of the Courtyer (The Book of the Courtier), a book to instruct would be courtiers on proper court behavior by Baldessar Castilio, translated to English by Sir Thomas Hoby.  This book is available on the web through the University of Oregon's Renascence Editions, which focuses on English texts from 1477 to 1799.
  • The Digital Bookfinder offers itself as a hub to deliver free material to users.  You have to log in to use it, though.  Ick.
That's all for now. :)  There are really too many great book sites to list.  But this will get you started.  Please feel free to pass along any must-post e-book links.  Thanks!

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