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Beyond Words accompanies a collaborative exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Harvard University's Houghton Library; and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Featuring illuminated manuscripts from nineteen Boston-area institutions, this catalog provides a sweeping overview of the history of the book in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as a guide to its production, illumination, functions, and readership. Entries by eighty-five international experts document, discuss, and reproduce more than two hundred and sixty manuscripts and early printed books, many of them little known before now. Beyond Words also explores the history of collecting such books in Boston, an uncharted chapter in the history of American taste. Of broad appeal to scholars and amateur enthusiasts alike, this catalog documents one of the most ambitious exhibitions of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts ever to take place in North America.