Medieval manuscripts, with their cold and painted decoration and miniatures, are counted among the great glories of Western civilization. Images from them can be seen everywhere, from greeting cards and wrapping paper to facsimiles. This text offers an introduction to the whole subject of making books, from the Dark Ages to the invention of printing and beyond. The author describes the differing circumstances in which manuscripts were created, from the earliest monastic Gospel Books to university textbooks, secular romances, Books of Hours and classical texts for humanist bibliophiles. The variety of manuscrips and their illumination is revealed, and many fundamental questions discussed - who wrote the books, what texts they contained, who read them, how they were made and what purposes they served.