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This week’s session puts the theme of ‘the book as evidence’ firmly in the foreground. Among the most fascinating of all medieval manuscripts are those that bring together a set of diverse but carefully chosen texts for a purpose. Depending on the range of the materials which they assemble and the way in which they are arranged, miscellanies of this kind can provide precious insights into the cultural worlds and concerns of their makers. They speak to the ingenuity of their sponsors, to their ability to re-direct earlier materials to meet new needs and purposes, to the changing priorities of religious communities and literary patrons, and to the ways in which materials circulated to the centres where these books were assembled and copied.
In this week’s seminar, we will discuss three very famous but contrasting examples of books of this kind: the first is an 'educational' miscellany from the tenth century, the second a complex historical miscellany from the twelfth century which itself contains at least two earlier assemblages of material, and the third an exceptionally famous and rich fourteenth-century collection of poems, literary and historical texts in Anglo-Norman (‘the French of England’), Latin and Middle English.
Topics for Discussion
Note: to answer these questions you need to think about the concerns or themes that contect their contents and the ways in which the texts ‘complement’ or, perhaps, ‘comment’ on one another.
Texts for Discussion
Some Other Examples which Might be of Interest
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