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Oldest book of English literature in the world available to browse online for the first time

University of Exeter: “One of the oldest books of English literature in the world – created more than 1,000 years ago – is now available for anyone to browse online for the first time. The Exeter Book is one of the four most significant verse manuscripts to survive from the Anglo-Saxon period and contains the vast majority of all surviving Old English poetry. Its origins are a mystery. The new website and digital technology gives a fascinating glimpse into the production of the book, allowing people to explore doodles made a century ago of people and even an angel. Experts from the University of Exeter’s Digital Humanities Lab and Exeter Cathedral have collaborated to create the new website. Their work, supported by a generous grant from the University’s Provost’s Fund, means high resolution images have been captured of each one of the Exeter Book’s 130-odd pages for the first time. The digital Exeter Book will be an exceptional resource and tool for researchers, teachers and students of English literature, and provides a chance for anyone to in close-up one of the rarest and most remarkable relics of the medieval past. For Ann Barwood, Canon Librarian of Exeter Cathedral and Honorary Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, the new digital resource is a solution to a centuries-old dilemma: “Of our many historical treasures, the Exeter Book has been the jewel in the crown of Exeter Cathedral for nearly a thousand years. It’s a vitally important piece of heritage for the whole of the English-speaking world…”

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