Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-hfldf Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-28T18:01:28.801Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Introduction The Auchinleck Manuscript: New Perspectives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2021

Susanna Fein
Affiliation:
Professor of English, Kent State University.
A. S. G. Edwards
Affiliation:
Professor of Medieval Manuscripts, School of English, University of Kent
Helen Phillips
Affiliation:
Professor of English, Cardiff University
Derek Pearsall
Affiliation:
Professor Emeritus of English, Harvard University, Honorary Member, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Cathy Hume
Affiliation:
Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University, Illinois.
Ralph Hanna
Affiliation:
Emeritus Professor of Palaeography, University of Oxford
Get access

Summary

THIS volume owes much of its genesis to an event sponsored under the aegis of the London Old and Middle English Research Seminars (LOMERS), held at Senate House, University College London, in July 2008. Focused on the Auchinleck manuscript (Edinburgh, NLS, MS Advocates 19. 2. 1), the presentations were, as I recall, meticulous in delivering new ways to perceive the book's array of tangible clues, often daring in how they used these clues to assess contents and reconstruct new scenarios of the book's making and purpose, and – more often than not – contentious in knocking down old theories in order to replace them with explanations of finer nuance and better historical grounding. The organizers of the conference, Ruth Kennedy and Simon Meecham-Jones, had pulled together a group of keenly interested scholars to take on, whole, this tantalizing volume that embodies in its very existence a massive amount of material evidence as to London commercial book production and the demand for vernacular texts in the earlyfourteenth century, c. 1330–40.

Displaying reproduced folios alongside the cogent aids provided by Derek Pearsall and I. C. Cunningham, the 1977 facsimile of Auchinleck had already become an indispensible resource – and the magnet that drew many a scholar of medieval English literature into manuscript studies. As Pearsall noted in the introduction to the facsimile, Auchinleck holds crucial significance ‘in its early date, in the range, variety and intrinsic interest of its contents, and in the evidence it provides for English poetry, of book-production and readership in the period before Chaucer’. In the present volume, Pearsall returns, some forty years later, to affirm that statement and speculate further that, in its own time, Auchinleck was a rare book and ‘perhaps quite famous’ (p. 23). Other notable voices chime in. For A. S. G. Edwards, the massive Auchinleck is a landmark of ‘unprecedented comprehensiveness’ (p. 34), and, for Ralph Hanna, the book holds ‘deserved cultural centrality’ in our understanding of fourteenth-century English poetry and book production (p. 213).

Each of these three experts of medieval English manuscripts spoke at the LOMERS Auchinleck conference, and each has refined, updated, and formalized his observations for this volume.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×