Pilgrimage formed a central motif of medieval culture and shaped a defining aesthetic of early literature. Despite this centrality, research remains in a preliminary state for many of the actual texts, manuscripts, and books connected to pilgrimage and how they contributed to the exchange and translation of knowledge and ideas. This special issue considers issues of reading and writing before, during, and after medieval pilgrimages, as well as the methodological and historical issues at stake for both pilgrim writers and modern scholars. In particular, the articles address the vexed issue of where — and how much — reading and writing took place around historically attested pilgrimages. By employing insights from literature, history, bibliography, geography, and anthropology, this collection aims not only to understand the past, but also to examine how current biases might affect interpretation of that past. From this multidisciplinary perspective, deeper insight is offered into how pilgrims’ libraries shaped not only pilgrimage, but medieval culture in general.

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