The scholarship and teaching of manuscript studies has been transformed by digitisation, rendering previously rarefied documents accessible for study on a vast scale. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval British Manuscripts orientates students in the complex, multidisciplinary study of medieval book production and contemporary display of manuscripts from c.600–1500. Accessible explanations draw on key case studies to illustrate the major methodologies and explain why skills in understanding early book production are so critical for reading, editing, and accessing a rich cultural heritage. Chapters by leading specialists in manuscript studies range from explaining how manuscripts were stored, to revealing the complex networks of readers and writers which can be understood through manuscripts, to an in depth discussion on the Wycliffite Bible.
This Cambridge Companion offers readers a comparative cultural history of north-western Europe in the crucial period of the eleventh century: the age of William the Conqueror. Besides England, Normandy, and northern France, the volume also explores Scandinavia, the North Sea world, the insular world beyond the English Channel, and various parts of Continental Europe. This Companion features essays designed specifically for those wishing to advance their knowledge and understanding of this important period of European history using a holistic and contextual perspective, deliberately shifting the focus away from William the man and onto the rich and fascinating culture of the world in which he lived and ruled. This was not the age created by William, but the age that created him. With contributions by leading international experts, this volume provides an inclusive and innovative study companion that is both authoritative and timely.
In Medieval English Manuscripts and Literary Forms, Jessica Brantley offers an innovative introduction to manuscript culture that uses the artifacts themselves to open some of the most vital theoretical questions in medieval literary studies. With nearly 200 illustrations, many of them in color, the book offers both a broad survey of the physical forms and cultural histories of manuscripts and a dozen case studies of particularly significant literary witnesses, including the Beowulf manuscript, the St. Albans Psalter, the Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, and The Book of Margery Kempe. Practical discussions of parchment, scripts, decoration, illustration, and bindings mix with consideration of such conceptual categories as ownership, authorship, language, miscellaneity, geography, writing, editing, mediation, illustration, and performance—as well as of the status of the literary itself. Each case study includes an essay orienting the reader to particularly productive categories of analysis and a selected bibliography for further research. Because a high-quality digital surrogate exists for each of the selected manuscripts, fully and freely available online, readers can gain access to the artifacts in their entirety, enabling further individual exploration and facilitating the book’s classroom use. Medieval English Manuscripts and Literary Forms aims to inspire a broad group of readers with some of the excitement of literary manuscript studies in the twenty-first century. The interpretative frameworks surrounding each object will assist everyone in thinking through the implications of manuscript culture more generally, not only for the deeper study of the literature of the Middle Ages, but also for a better understanding of book cultures of any era, including our own.
This Companion presents fifteen original and engaging essays by leading scholars on one of the most influential genres of Western literature. Chapters describe the origins of early verse romance in twelfth-century French and Anglo-Norman courts and analyze the evolution of verse and prose romance in France, Germany, England, Italy, and Spain throughout the Middle Ages. The volume introduces a rich array of traditions and texts and offers fresh perspectives on the manuscript context of romance, the relationship of romance to other genres, popular romance in urban contexts, romance as mirror of familiar and social tensions, and the representation of courtly love, chivalry, 'other' worlds and gender roles. Together the essays demonstrate that European romances not only helped to promulgate the ideals of elite societies in formation, but also held those values up for questioning. An introduction, a chronology and a bibliography of texts and translations complete this lively, useful overview.
The human body has been depicted in a variety of ways across a range of cultural and historical locations. It has been described, variously, as a biological entity, clothing for the soul, a site of cultural production, a psychosexual construct, and a material encumbrance. Each of these different approaches brings with it a range of anthropological, political, theological, and psychological discourses that explore and construct identities and subject positions. This Companion examines connections between American literature and bodies from the eighteenth century through the present. It reveals the singular way that literature can help us understand the body's entanglement within social and biological influences, and it traces the body's existence within histories of race, gender, and ability. This volume details the genres, critical fields, and interpretive practices that best facilitate the analysis of bodies in the full span of American literary imaginings.
Reassess medieval literature and the relationship between writers and power in England by arguing that major works commissioned by or written for a succession of Lancastrians--Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, and Prince Edward--reveal that John Gower, Thomas Hoccleve, John Lydgate, and John Fortescue were not propagandists.