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The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Rewriting Post-Conquest History

Malasree Home
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
    Book Description:

    In the twelfth century, a version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was rewritten at Peterborough Abbey, welding local history into an established framework of national events. This text has usually been regarded as an exception, a vernacular Chronicle written in a period dominated by Latin histories. This study, however, breaks new ground by considering the Peterborough Chronicle as much more than just an example of the accidental longevity of the Chronicle tradition. Close analysis reveals unique interpretations of events, and a very strong sense of communal identity, suggesting that the construction of this text was not a marginal activity, but one essential to the articulation of the abbey's image. This text also participates in a vibrant post-Conquest textual culture, in particular at Canterbury, including the writing of the bilingual F version of the Chronicle; its symbiotic relationship with a wider corpus of Latin historiography thus indicates the presence of shared sources. The incorporation of alternative generic types in the text also suggests the presence of formal hybridity, a further testament to a fluid and adaptable textual culture. Dr Malasree Home teaches at Newcastle University.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-469-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
    Malasree Home
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. List of Manuscripts
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Introduction: The text, the world, and Peterborough abbey
    (pp. 1-20)

    In the early part of the twelfth century, the Benedictine abbey of Peterborough saw a spate of textual activity. of principal importance for this study is an example of vernacular historiography acquired and subsequently reworked by the abbey scriptorium. This was a version of theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle,which started life as a document of national history and West-Saxon military campaigns now known inChroniclescholarship as the ‘Common Stock’.¹ Peterborough abbey obtained a version of the Northern Recension, a version of the ‘Common stock’ without any continuations, which was taken north in the late tenth or early eleventh centuries. This...

  7. 1 Textualising the past
    (pp. 21-60)

    Maurice Halbwachs, in his study on collective memory and the sociology of knowledge, noted the indissoluble tie between the past and the present in the reconstruction of memory or past events. While ‘the material traces, rites, texts, and traditions left behind by [the] past’ form an essential part of secular, religious and institutional memory, they can only be reconstructed (and interpreted) ‘with the aid … of recent psychological and social data, that is to say, with the present’.¹ In many cases, the ‘psychological and social data’ of the present may be difficult to find in the textual content of medieval...

  8. 2 Continuing the Chronicle
    (pp. 61-100)

    The Peterborough interpolations demonstrate the compiler’s awareness of the form, structure and content of the received proto-EChronicletext. This acknowledgment of a textual past co-exists with Peterborough’s appropriation of theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle. This is particularly apparent in the charters, which, transformed asChroniclenarrative and associated with a known tradition of vernacular historiography, not only inscribe the geography of the place into the text, but are also used to support Peterborough’s ancient claims to authority. This local appropriation is taken a step further by the Continuations, which were written after the compilation of theChronicletill 1121.

    Like the...

  9. 3 Making the Chronicle: form, genre, identity
    (pp. 101-142)

    Compilation, as an editorial function, involves a balance of activities ranging from passive gathering and collation of material to the more active construction and writing of new texts, or translations from one language to another. It is as relevant to medieval times as the modern, whether it involves the production of a text from a range of source texts in the Latin or vernacular, or the translation of a source code to machine language. in a modern world which lays great emphasis on ‘originality’ or ‘creativity’, the activity of the compiler (as it does not claim to add anything new...

  10. 4 Beyond the Chronicle: the perspective of house history
    (pp. 143-172)

    The Second Continuation of thePeterborough Chronicleends on a note of hope and victory, with a new king, Henry II, on the throne of England, and a new abbot, William of Waterville, installed at Peterborough abbey. For the history of the abbey, as well as for historiography at the centre, this is a moment of equilibrium. In the text itself, the new abbot represents the possibility of a better future for the abbey, after it has recovered from the effects of internal and political upheavals, just as Henry II represents the same for the war-torn country. From a wider,...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 173-180)
  12. Index
    (pp. 181-184)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-187)