Huntington library manuscript HM 1, otherwise known as the Wakefield or Towneley manuscript, offers us a rare window into the world of British drama prior to Shakespeare. The manuscript contains 32 biblical plays in English, thought to have been performed by craft guilds in the Wakefield area in the late middle ages.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries the manuscript passed through the hands of some of the most famous collectors, scholars and book dealers in England and America. Offering a case study of HM 1, this talk concentrates on this in particular, focusing on some of the more puzzling aspects of the manuscript’s commercial history.

This talk by Dr Danielle Magnusson was delivered at the IES Unfinished Business Seminar on 18 November 2020.

 

Image: San Marino, Huntington Library, HM 00001, fol. 1.