Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal Culture: The Otho Lazamon

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal Culture: The Otho Lazamon

Article excerpt

Elizabeth J. Bryan, Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal CultureThe Otho Lazamon (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999). xx + 238 pp.; 8 plates. ISBN 0-472-10949-9. $49.50/L31.00.

This book makes five distinct claims about Cotton Otho C.xiii, one of two extant manuscripts of Lazamon's Brut the absence of decorated initials in that part of the manuscript describing Arthur's conquest of Rome 'downplays' this 'suspect' part of Arthurian history; seven 'nota' markings in the manuscript's margins pick out `exempla for would-be rulers'; the words 'Merlin' and 'Gwenayfer' as marginal rubrications call particular attention to these 'troubling' characters; fifty brown-ink glosses picking out the names of kings provide an `eschatological reading of providential history through the medium of genealogical mnemonics'; twenty-two pen underlinings which `are analogous to the handwritten notes' kept by a Society of Antiquaries member demonstrate the use of this manuscript by an Elizabethan `community of readers'. As this summary demonstrates, each of these claims emerges from a very small set of facts, but even in aggregate, this volume's account of `medieval scribal culture' is surprisingly slender.

Elizabeth Bryan does introduce her study with a lengthy account of the 'enjoining' activity of medieval textuality, the extent to which 'communities' were forged by manuscripts out of successive readers (or 'collaborators') whose reactions, when projected into a manuscript as extratextual markings, necessarily become part of that manuscript's 'meaning'. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.