Senate House Library has digitised rare material from its collections for the first time, especially for this resource. It includes two of the Library’s most important manuscripts - The Life of the Black Prince (MS1) and The Vision of Piers Plowman (SLV/17) - and several incunabula, the name given to books printed up to 1500, in the first century of printing with moveable type in Europe.
The two manuscripts were produced in the last quarter of the 14th century and the early 15th century respectively. Both are by English scribes but are in different languages, reflecting their content. The Black Prince is written in French, the language of the English court and is a verse chronicle recording the life and exploits of Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III and father of Richard II, and events of the Hundred Years War. The Vision of Piers Plowman by William Langland was one of the most popular works of Middle-English literature. Several different versions of the text can be found in late medieval manuscripts. The manuscript featured on the resource is a version of the c-text.