M. R. James (1862-1936) is probably best remembered as a writer of chilling ghost stories, but he was an outstanding scholar of medieval literature and palaeography, who served both as Provost of King's College, Cambridge, and as Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and many of his stories reflect his academic background. His detailed descriptive catalogues of manuscripts owned by colleges, cathedrals and museums are still of value to scholars today. In this ground-breaking book, first published in 1899, James analysed 482 manuscripts in the renowned Parker Collection at Cambridge for evidence of their provenance. James argued that by discovering what books were owned by individual English monasteries in the middle ages, historians could better understand medieval English intellectual life. He established the origin of nearly 200 of the books, and the results of his investigations (one volume, for example, belonged to Thomas Becket) still make fascinating reading today.