The present collection of essays is based on a workshop entitled Polysystem theory and beyond, which took place in Venice on 4-5 October 2010. The original idea was to discuss the application of the polysystem theory and more recent work done by members of the Unit for Culture Research at Tel Aviv University primarily, but not exclusively, on medieval textual production. Despite the huge impact that the polysystem theory has had since its first formulation in the late 1970s on translation studies around the world, it has received much less attention in medieval studies, even though translation has long been one of the major research topics for scholars dealing with the literary and linguistic heritage of the Middle Ages. Therefore, the workshop was conceived as a forum where the ideas and the theoretical tenets put forth by the polysystem theory and culture research, with their focus on the interrelatedness of all the components making up a culture, could be discussed with reference to a variety of case studies pertaining to various epochs and cultures. All the essays in this collection share a concern with the instrumental and symbolic use of literary texts and aim at raising questions regarding the role of textual activity in the shaping and development of culture. Given the experimental nature of the project, it should be mentioned that the questions raised outnumber the answers provided by the essays.