The Yorkshire landowner Robert Thornton (c.1397- c.1465) copied the contents of two important manuscripts, Lincoln Cathedral, MS 91 (the "Lincoln manuscript"), and London, British Library, MS Additional 31042 (the "London manuscript") in the middle decades of the fifteenth century. Viewed in combination, his books comprise a rare repository of varied English and Latin literary, religious and medical texts that survived the dissolution of the monasteries, when so many other medieval books were destroyed. Residing in the texts he copied and used are many indicators of what this gentleman scribe of the North Riding read, how he practised his religion, and what worldly values he held for himself and his family. Because of the extraordinary nature of his collected texts - Middle English romances, alliterative verse (the alliterative Morte Arthure only exists here), lyrics and treatises of religion or medicine - editors and scholars have long been deeply interested in uncovering Thornton's habits as a private, amateur scribe. The essays collected here provide, for the first time, a sustained, focussed light on Thornton and his books. They examine such matters as what Thornton as a scribe made, how he did it, and why he did it, placing him in a wider context and looking at the contents of the manuscripts. Susanna Fein is Professor of English at Kent State University; Michael Johnston is an Assistant Professor of English at Purdue University. Contributors: Julie Nelson Couch, Susanna Fein, Rosalind Field, Joel Fredell, Ralph Hanna, Michael Johnston, George R. Keiser, Julie Orlemanski, Mary Michele Poellinger, Dav Smith, Thorlac Turville-Petre.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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