Video Fridays: Forgotten Medieval Manuscripts

Image © The British Library

Bas-de page miniature of King Arthur riding to mass, with Camelot depicted as an Italian city, from Guiron le Courtois. Made in Italy, ca. 1352-1362.

Last month I read this really intriguing article titled “How Much Medieval Literature Has Been Lost Over the Centuries,” which led me to six-minute video from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the journal Science about how much medieval literature has been lost over the past 500+ years. A group of scholars has applied an ecological theory -- the “unseen species model” -- to try to determine the survival rate of medieval manuscripts. The estimate is about 9 percent overall; English literature is even lower.