I have an embarrassing confession reflecting my amateur status: all the
medieval texts I have read to date have been *printed* versions. I have
never laid my eyes on an original manuscript. Recently, the shortcomings
of this inexperience revealed themselves in a frustrating manner. I have a
book which contains photographic reproductions of many manuscripts (both of
chroniclers such as Froissart, and also of anonymous clerical scribes), but
I could scarcely read a word of them. The problem was not my Latin --
which, though rusty, is serviceable with Niemeyer and a bit of effort.
Rather, I could not make out the letters and abbreviations used.
This brings me to my punchline, so to speak. Is anyone aware of any good
"how-to" book which would enable the neophyte to learn the various styles
of writing (e.g., Half-Uncial, Gothic, &c.) and abbreviations prevalent in