Medieval -- Medieval and Renaissance Letter Treatises and Form Letters. A Census of Maunscripts Found in Part of Western Europe, Japan, and the United States of America by Emil J. Polak

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Medieval and Renaissance Letter Treatises and Form Letters. A Census of Manuscripts Found in Part of Western Europe, Japan, and the United States of America. By Emil J. Polak.

Davis Medieval Texts and Studies, Volume IX.

(Leiden: E. J. Brill. 1994. Pp. xvii, 475.)

This volume constitutes the second part of a monumental effort to publish organized inventories of the extant manuscript evidence relating to the medieval arts of letter-writing and secular oratory, the ars dictaminis and the ars arengandi. The results of Professor Polak's research for France, Austria, (West) Germany, and Italy, whose libraries contain the richest collections of manuscripts on these arts, will be published in a third volume.

The present volume, like its predecessor dealing with Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (see ante, LXXX January, 1994

, 139-141), is largely a result of the author's visit to hundreds of libraries in Western Europe and the United States. In the cases of Japan and Greece, however, the information was obtained by correspondence. As with the first volume, the manuscript census includes (1) the ars dictaminis with its treatises, manuals, and dictamina or model letter collections; (2) the ars epistolandi, the art of letterwriting of the Renaissance humanists (fourteenth to seventeenth century); and (3) the related art of ars arengandi or the art of secular oratory for judicial, political, academic, and social purposes, together with model speech collections or arenge. …