This collection of essays by leading experts in manuscript studies sheds new light on ways to approach medieval texts in their manuscript context. Each contribution provides groundbreaking insight into the field of medieval textual culture, demonstrating the various interconnections between medieval material and literary traditions. The contributors’ work aids reconstruction of the period’s writing practices, as contextual factors surrounding the texts provide clues to the ‘manuscript experience’. Topics such as scribal practice and textual providence, glosses, rubrics, page lay-out, and even page ruling, are addressed in a manner illustrative and suggestive of textual practice of the time, while the volume further considers the interface between the manuscript and early textual communities.
Looking at medieval inventories of books no longer extant, and addressing questions such as ownership, reading practices and textual production, Medieval Texts in Context addresses the fundamental interpretative issue of how scribe-editors worked with an eye to their intended audience. An understanding of the world inhabited by the scribal community is made use of to illuminate the rationale behind the manufacture of devotional texts. The combination of approaches to the medieval vernacular manuscript presented in this volume is unique, marking a major, innovative contribution to manuscript studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Graham D Caie and Denis Renevey 2. The Manuscript Experience: What Medieval Vernacular Manuscripts Tell Us About Authors and Texts Graham D. Caie 3. Aspects of Mise-en-Page in Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible Matti Peikola 4.Harley 3954 and the Audience of Piers Plowman Simon Horobin 5.Cy ensuent trois chaunceons’: Groups and Sequences of Middle English Lyrics Julia Boffey 6.Sir John Fastolf’s French Books Richard Beadle 7.Journeyman Manuscript Production and Lay Piety: The Hopton Hall Manuscript A.S. G. Edwards 8.Contexts and Comments: the Chastising of God’s Children and the Mirror of Simple Souls in MS Bodley 505 Marleen Cré 9. The Haunted Text: Reflections in The Mirror to Deuout People Vincent Gillespie 10.Some North Yorkshire Scribes and Their Context Ralph Hanna 11.Looking for a Context: Rolle, Anchoritic Culture, and the Office of the Dead Denis Renevey 12. Issues of linguistic categorisation in the evolution of written Middle English Jeremy J. Smith List of Manuscripts Bibliography Notes on Contributors Index