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Textual Cultures of Medieval Italy

Textual Cultures of Medieval Italy

Edited by William Robins
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 320
  • Book Info
    Textual Cultures of Medieval Italy
    Book Description:

    The essays inTextual Cultures of Medieval Italyconsider how distinct habits of writing took root among specific communities in Italy between the early Middle Ages and the eve of the Renaissance.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9460-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Figures and Tables
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    The essays in this volume arise out of papers given at the conference ‘Textual Cultures of Medieval Italy: Editorial and Other Approaches’ held at the University of Toronto on 6–8 November 2005 as the forty-first Conference on Editorial Problems. Looking back, the conference can be seen as one sign of the emergence over the course of 2005 and 2006 of ‘textual cultures’ as a significant, mainstream critical term. During this period in the United Kingdom a conference in Glasgow announced medieval English ‘textual cultures’ as its theme, while another in Stirling addressed ‘textual culture’ (in the singular) within English...

  7. 1 The Study of Medieval Italian Textual Cultures
    (pp. 11-50)

    The premodern period, according to general surveys of technologies of communication, is framed, on the one hand, by the profound transformations brought about by the introduction of writing and, on the other hand, by the similarly deep transformations attendant upon the arrival of printing with movable type. Within this period – the chronological limits vary considerably from one culture to another – the situation of medieval Europe is characterized above all by a constant and productive interaction between written and oral modes of communication and, as far as the technology of writing is concerned, by the rise to prominence of the codex...


    • 2 Rhetoric and Reform during the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries
      (pp. 53-80)

      In contrast with the rest of Europe, the northern third of the Italian peninsula known as theregnum Italiaehad essentially two textual cultures, which from the tenth century became increasingly well-defined: on the one hand, the traditional book culture, dominated by grammar and oriented to the study of the corpus of ancient Latin literature and history together with the Christian and pedagogical heritage of late antiquity and of the early Middle Ages; and, on the other, a legal culture, which developed in two stages. It began as a culture of the document, which the Carolingian conquerors found already active...

    • 3 Adventures in Textuality: Lyric Poetry, the Tenzone, and Cino da Pistoia
      (pp. 81-112)

      The tradition of lyric poetry in thirteenth-and early fourteenth-century Italy is vast and varied, and the poets who contributed to this great production of literary texts are many and represent a number of regions on the peninsula. In his treatise on language and prosody,De vulgari eloquentia, Dante demonstrates his awareness of this great patchwork quilt of languages/dialects that constitutes medieval Italy, while simultaneously acknowledging the wide range of poets and styles that characterize the lyric tradition. In this case, as in many others, we know Dante’s perspectives on a great many issues, and these, in the absence of other...


    • 4 Public Textual Cultures: A Case Study in Southern Italy
      (pp. 115-144)

      Medieval art historians rarely edit texts and are seldom invited to contribute to conferences and volumes concerned with editorial problems. Even an art historian who specializes in manuscripts usually depends on others to do the ‘editorial’ work of collating variants and regularizing orthography; only then might she address codicology and palaeography before focusing on ornament and illumination, those features of texts that fall squarely within the art-historical domain. Yet art historians may have something to offer traditional text editors, who often pay less attention to the material, artefactual dimensions of their texts and many of whom seldom attend to the...

    • 5 The Textualization of Early Italian Cantari
      (pp. 145-164)

      New approaches to the study of medieval texts promoted by Armando Petrucci and others have taught us to ask questions and gather information not only from what the texts say but also from their physical appearance, in pursuit of what William Robins, in his introductory chapter to this volume, calls a ‘semiotics of textual culture materialistically and historically inflected.’ My study here follows those by such scholars as Furio Brugnolo, H. Wayne Storey, and Peter Weinmann, who have demonstrated that the very material layout of poetic texts offers preliminary indications about what genre a medieval reader could expect to encounter.¹...


    • 6 Paulinus of Aquileia’s Sponsio episcoporum: Written Oaths and Ecclesiastical Discipline in Carolingian Italy
      (pp. 167-216)

      Sometime toward the end of his life, after governing the church of Aquileia for nearly thirteen years, the patriarch Paulinus (ca. 740–802) devised a solemn vow upon the Gospels to be taken by episcopal candidates at their consecration and recorded in a document signed by both Paulinus and his new suffragan. The formulary for thisSponsio episcoporum ad sanctam Aquileiensem sedem(The Promise of Bishops to the Holy See of Aquileia) was attached in the ninth century to an earlier manuscript of the Acts of Chalcedon, and a faulty transcription of it was printed among the earliest editions of...

    • 7 Writing the Vernacular at the Merchant Court of Florence
      (pp. 217-262)

      This essay examines how the vernacular was introduced into the records kept by the tribunals of the Florentine guilds over the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with particular attention given to the most important commercial tribunal of Florence, the merchant court known as the Mercanzia. The subject first attracted my attention several years ago when I published, in a study of the architect and humanist Leon Battista Alberti and his family, some procedural documents from the Florentine Mercanzia. Most of those texts were in the vernacular, and editing them posed various problems that arose because of their peculiar...


    • 8 The Death of Angela of Foligno and the Genesis of the Liber Angelae
      (pp. 265-294)

      For a long time responsibilities in the field of history were clearly demarcated between the philologist who would edit sources, and the historian proper who would exploit them, that is, examine their credibility and establish a correct interpretation for them. Within this framework, the philologist’s mission consists in producing neutral, unbiased, and reliable documents, so that they might open the way for subsequent historical discussion. Such a ‘positivistic’ conception of history is actually quite ‘negative’ in its obsession with placing the detection of error and falsehood at every step of the historical enterprise: textual criticism relies on diagnosing common ‘mistakes’...

    • 9 Editing Legal Texts from the Late Middle Ages
      (pp. 295-324)

      During the late Middle Ages, the production and transmission of legal texts rose to new heights. This was due mainly to a university-based system of production and distribution in which lenders of master texts (stationarii), copyists (scriptores), and correctors (correctores) participated. These professionals and students produced a veritable ocean of legal text that remains to be explored, let alone edited: almost all the medieval legal texts used by legal and social historians lack modern critical editions. Whenever we study ordinary people, their conflicts, their strategies of interaction, or their mentalities through the lens of legal doctrine, most scholars, with few...

  12. Index of Manuscripts
    (pp. 325-328)
  13. Index of Names and Subjects
    (pp. 329-350)