British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval and Renaissance

British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval and Renaissance image

British Literary Manuscripts Online: Medieval & Renaissance offers students and researchers unprecedented online access to 565,000 page images and descriptions of rare manuscripts, c.1100 to 1660


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British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval and Renaissance is the second installment in Gale's groundbreaking British Literary Manuscripts Online series. This digital archive presents an extraordinary view into the culture and history of renowned and lesser-known writers of the period. The collection features works from more than 1,000 authors and more than 500 years of manuscripts dating from roughly 1100 to 1660 - preceding and broadening the scope of the first series. It offers hundreds of thousands of pages of letters, poems, stories, plays, chronicles, religious writings and other materials.

This collection allows for the study of manuscripts to be integrated into literature, humanities and social and cultural history curriculum. It opens up endless possibilities for users studying authors' social networks, their personal beliefs and attitudes, their education and the development of their writings.


This resource is of particuar relevance to scholars of medieval literature, authors and manuscripts, in many genres. The collection presents facsimile images of literary manuscripts, including letters and diaries, drafts of poems, plays, novels, and other literary works, and similar materials.

The full text of manuscript images is not searchable. Searching is based on tags and descriptive text (metadata) associated with each manuscript. Advanced Search options include author, document type, work title, and manuscript number or library shelf mark. Options for limiting searches include year, century, document type and library.

Images of the complete manuscript can be viewed, manipulated and navigated on screen.

Technical Methods

British Literary Manuscripts Online has been created from microfilm collections of manuscripts, by digitizing the images and related catalog information and descriptions contained in those collections. The manuscripts in British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval and Renaissance were selected from a number of important institutions, including The British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Forster and Dyce Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Special Characters

The resource includes the searchable special characters thorn (þ, Þ), eth (ð) and yogh (ȝ).

About the project

British Literary Manuscripts Online is a subscription-only educational resource created by Gale Cengage Learning.

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Source Types

  • Literary Manuscripts


  • Manuscript Descriptions


  • literature


  • English


  • Subscription

Time Period



Gale-Cengage Learning

Cite this page:

"British Literary Manuscripts Online" Manuscripts Online (, version 1.0, 15 June 2024),