Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-5dd2w Total loading time: 0.324 Render date: 2022-05-18T04:31:42.115Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

1 - The Memory and Impact of Oral Performance: Shaping the Understanding of Late Medieval Readers

John J. Thompson
Affiliation:
Queen’s University Belfast
Get access

Summary

The late medieval period in book history is characterized by two remarkable developments in terms of the production and dissemination of vernacular literature, both of which continued to have a profound impact on the processes of making books and shaping readers in Britain long after the period. These developments were, first, a perceptible shift from memory to written record: at a varying pace right across the literary and bureaucratic cultures of Western Europe, there continued in this period a seemingly irresistible movement away from a predominantly oral-based culture of wisdom, instruction, entertainment and information gathering, in the direction of a culture dominated by the material text. Across a period extending hundreds of years, there was a shift in medieval European attitudes away from large-scale (one hesitates to say popular) participation in an oral culture based on consensus and folk wisdom, passed on by tradition and word of mouth, to, broadly speaking, a text-based book culture and archive-based documentary record. The cultural attitudes of literary audiences had to adjust to take on the business of reading a text as well as hearing it delivered orally. Secondly, following on from that first perceptible shift, the late medieval period in the west witnessed the beginnings of the movement from script to print. This was a movement away from a manuscript culture where texts were often written to order, either as part of an obligation-based system or as a bespoke trade towards the new technological miracle of printing for profit.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

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
×