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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2022
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Book description

How did new literatures begin in the Middle Ages and what does it mean to ask about such beginnings? These are the questions this volume pursues across the regions and languages of medieval Europe, from Iceland, Scandinavia, and Iberia through Irish, Welsh, English, French, Dutch, Occitan, German, Italian, Czech, and Croatian to Medieval Greek and the East Slavonic of early Rus. Focusing on vernacular scripted cultures and their complicated relationships with the established literary cultures of Latin, Greek, and Church Slavonic, the volume's contributors describe the processes of emergence, consolidation, and institutionalization that make it possible to speak of a literary tradition in any given language. Moreover, by concentrating on beginnings, the volume avoids the pitfalls of viewing earlier phenomena through the lens of later, national developments; the result is a heightened sense of the historical contingency of categories of language, literature, and territory in the space we call 'Europe'.


‘… an excellent overview of the oldest surviving vernacular texts in Europe …’

Tristan Spillman Source: Sehepunkte (from German)

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