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Episode 2

In Our Time, The Written World Episode 2 of 5

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 03 January 2012

In the second instalment of his survey of the written word, Melvyn Bragg traces the evolution of writing technology from the time of classical antiquity to the invention of printing. He discovers the origins of the book, and encounters the earliest surviving intact example in the Western world.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Gutenberg Bible

    Gutenberg Bible

    An overall view of the paper copy of the Gutenberg Bible held at the British Library.

    The British Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible printed on paper was transferred as part of the King's Library to the British Museum in 1828. It had been acquired by George III (1738-1820) at an unknown date.

    Image copyright British Library Board

    Gutenberg Bible in the British Library - The copy on paper
  • Gutenberg Bible - the copy on vellum

    Gutenberg Bible - the copy on vellum

    The British Library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible printed on vellum was bequeathed to the British Museum by Thomas Grenville in 1846.

    Image copyright British Library Board

    Gutenberg Bible - more details about the copy on Vellum
  • Gutenberg Bible

    Gutenberg Bible

    Details of an illuminated page in the paper version of the Gutenberg Bible at the British Library.

    Image copyright British Library Board

    More details about the decoration at the British Library website
  • St Cuthbert Gospel

    St Cuthbert Gospel

    The 7th century St Cuthbert Gospel - the earliest intact European book.

    A manuscript copy of the Gospel of St John, the St Cuthbert Gospel was produced in the North of England in the late 7th century and was buried alongside St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne, apparently in 698, and later found in the saint’s coffin at Durham Cathedral in 1104. It has a beautifully-worked original red leather binding in excellent condition, and is the only surviving high-status manuscript from this crucial period in British history to retain its original appearance, both inside and out.

    Image copyright British Library Board

    More about the St Cuthbert Gospel and the campaign to acquire it
  • St Cuthbert Gospel

    St Cuthbert Gospel

    Detail of a page from the St Cuthbert Gospel, produced in the North of England in the late 7th century.

    Image copyright British Library Board

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Featured in...

  • Culture archive

    Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society.

  • The Written Word

    A celebration of programmes and clips dedicated to the craft of writing

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Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Podcasts

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

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