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Textual Cultures: Cultural Texts

Textual Cultures: Cultural Texts

Orietta Da Rold
Elaine Treharne
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Textual Cultures: Cultural Texts
    Book Description:

    The dynamic fields of the history of the book and the sociology of the text are the areas this volume investigates, bringing together ten specially commissioned essays that between them demonstrate a range of critical and material approaches to medieval, early modern, and digital books and texts. They scrutinize individual medieval manuscripts to illustrate how careful re-reading of evidence permits a more nuanced apprehension of production, and reception across time; analyse metaphor for our understanding of the Byzantine book; examine the materiality of textuality from Beowulf to Pepys and the digital work in the twenty-first century; place manuscripts back into specific historical context; and re-appraise scholarly interpretation of significant periods of manuscript and print production in the later medieval and early modern periods. All of these essays call for a new assessment of the ways in which we read books and texts, making a major contribution to book history, and illustrating how detailed focus on individual cases can yield important new findings. Contributors: Elaine Treharne, Erika Corradini, Julia Crick, Orietta Da Rold, A.S.G. Edwards, Martin K. Foys, Whitney Anne Trettien, David L. Gants, Ralph Hanna, Robert Romanchuk, Margaret M. Smith, Liberty Stanavage.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-890-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    In the recent 2008 Research Assessment Exercise in the United Kingdom – a qualitative audit and analysis of all academics’ publications and research – the English Subject Panel made its report on the state of the discipline and potential future directions.¹ In the detailed description, the panel noted the major strengths in scholarship in a number of fields, including manuscript-based studies and ‘history of the book and the sociology of texts’. The buoyancy of this area of research is evinced, too, by the creation of new groups, centres, degree programmes and book series all focused on the history of the book in...

  7. The Composite Nature of Eleventh-Century Homiliaries: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 421
    (pp. 5-20)

    The production of English vernacular homilies in the eleventh century has often been studied with regard to textual transmission and adaptation. Much focus has been placed on the eleventh-century practices of adapting earlier sources to the needs of new users, and to studying the different purposes underlying the original production of, for instance, Ælfric and Wulfstan.¹ These studies provide invaluable evidence regarding the interests and concerns of those preachers who were interested in using Ælfric and Wulfstan’s homiletic texts in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries. However, the form in which such adaptations of earlier homilies were collected physically and...

  8. The Power and the Glory: Conquest and Cosmology in Edwardian Wales (Exeter, Cathedral Library, 3514)
    (pp. 21-42)

    Historians of the modern and pre-modern worlds have often sought to make connections between the boundaries of states and the shape of their respective historiographies; in recent years they have scrutinised archival processes and the preservation of artefacts of the past, and they and their literary peers have examined the historical narratives which imposed order on the past and gave meaning to its remains.¹ National historiographies are thus commonly ascribed active properties, as means by which elites might recognise and realise a collective future for their nation, stifle opposing views and assert a common will. If we accept the general...

  9. Manuscript Production before Chaucer: Some Preliminary Observations
    (pp. 43-58)

    This paper concerns books written in England in the centuries before Chaucer; it considers some of the current trends in our understanding of manuscript production from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. It represents ideas and questions which I formed during my work on two projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which catalogued manuscripts from very different points on the medieval chronological spectrum. On the one hand, ‘The Production and Use of English Manuscripts: 1060 to 1220’ project (EM Project) deals with manuscripts containing English texts that were copied between the end of the eleventh and the...

  10. The Ellesmere Manuscript: Controversy, Culture and the Canterbury Tales
    (pp. 59-74)
    A. S. G. EDWARDS

    TO BEGIN WITH THE OBVIOUS: Geoffrey Chaucer enjoys a foundational status as ‘the father of English poetry’ and theCanterbury Taleshas been the most popular of his works. Over eighty manuscripts of it survive, complete, selected or fragmentary; and the earlier existence of a much larger number can be confidently inferred from a variety of evidence.¹ No English poetic work occurs in more fifteenth-century copies. In addition, it was the earliest major such work in English to be printed and the only medieval English one to have been consistently republished over the centuries since Chaucer’s death. In terms of...

  11. Vanishing Transliteracies in Beowulf and Samuel Pepys’s Diary
    (pp. 75-120)

    This essay explores how media history and the printed book’s place within it contribute to the institutional identity of literature, and how the institutional strategies by which these past documents became and maintain their authority as literary artefacts have resulted in various forms of the ‘strategic forgetting and recoding’ that Jane Newman notes in the quotation above. When we started this essay, we chose two disparate literary works from our respective periods of specialisation,Beowulfand Samuel Pepys’sDiary, for the simple reason that they both were discovered as written documents, became literature through printed editions and scholarship, and now...

  12. Descriptive Bibliography and Electronic Publication
    (pp. 121-140)

    As part of a session at the 1977 Annual Meeting of the Association of American University Presses, five scholarly publishers prepared business plans for an imagined work entitledNo Time for Houseplants, by Purvis Mulch. The University Presses at Chicago, MIT, North Carolina, Texas and Toronto each presented detailed procedures for the acquisition, editing, design, production and marketing of this made-up book. Published asOne Book / Five Waysa year later, the results of the experiment illustrate how the physical embodiment of a single verbal text can display quite different stylistic and bibliographical characteristics. Each press brought to the...

  13. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 647 and its Use, c. 1410–2010
    (pp. 141-162)

    Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 647 has always been central to forming perceptions of vernacular Lollardy; indeed, until just over twenty years ago and publication of a broader conspectus, this book stood as the primary example of Lollard polemical texts.¹ The book was a major source of information for the founder of modern studies, Walter W. Shirley (1828–66), after a spell as maths tutor at Wadham College, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History from 1863. Shirley had planned the contents, and received the endorsement of Clarendon Press, for several volumes of what he took to be the central texts,Select English...

  14. The Idea of the Heart in Byzantium and the History of the Book
    (pp. 163-186)

    While historians of the book and of reading in the Middle Ages have pored over the evidence offered up by Christian Latinity – and, betting on cultural continuity, have not been afraid to reach back to Antiquity and forward to the Renaissance to clarify or contextualise their own readings – they have been chary of the abundant materials to be found in Byzantium.² Greek, in its Christian idiom, is ‘not read’ in the pages of specialist studies like Mary Carruthers’sThe Book of Memoryand popular surveys such as Alberto Manguel’sA History of Reading.³ This ‘not read’ is not easy to...

  15. Red as a Textual Element during the Transition from Manuscript to Print
    (pp. 187-200)

    There is an irony about the use of red as an element of textual articulation. Its role over the several centuries before the invention of printing was to be visible, and thereby to distinguish what was rendered in red from other parts of the text. But to many modern scholars of the printed book, red is an invisible element, written off as insignificant because it is assumed to be merely decorative. Manuscript specialists, including the palaeographers Christopher de Hamel and J. P. Gumbert, are well aware of the value of red in medieval books, but incunabulists and those studying early...

  16. Problematising Textual Authority in the York Register
    (pp. 201-216)

    Recent work on medieval textuality has disrupted the popular notion that books in the Middle Ages were universally treated with reverence as almost magical objects, although the notion remains disturbingly persistent.¹ The past two decades have seen an increasing interest in destabilised texts, in reified meanings and in marginalia and glosses as a component of the text, rather than a defacement. Critics such as Peter Diehl, Siân Echard, Ralph Hanna and Carol Braun Pasternack have suggested variant editorial practices that recognise the complexity of texts, rather than reducing them to a single ‘correct’ edition.² Other critics have argued the need...

  17. Index
    (pp. 217-222)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-223)