Middle English Word of the Moment

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thesis proposal

“Res audita perit, litera scripta manet”: Temporal Identity in Early Fourteenth-Century History Writing.
Proposal for Masters Thesis: Hannah Kilpatrick
Contents:
Summary.  
Conceptual Framework and Introduction.
1. Ego, Adam Murimuth: Naming, anonymity, and authority.
2. Writing the institution: Ramsey Abbey
3. Composition and compilation: the chronicle collections of Lichfield Cathedral and Fineshade Priory    
Bibliography / Works cited.

Summary.
Considerable academic ink has been spent debating how individuals and institutions conceive their identity relative to concepts such as nation, religion, sexuality, or gender. Less discussed, however, is self-construction in terms of historical time. Examining several English chronicles of the first half of the fourteenth century, I will question how writers relate to time as a social construct and define themselves relative to it. A. J. Minnis’ well-known discussion of the mediaeval concept of ‘author’ and the ways in which authorial identity was constructed will provide the framework for my discussion of how the chronicler understands the act of writing the past and present, of making ‘history’ for the future. Assimilating recent scholarship on memory and uses of the past, the composition and purposes of history writing, and studies of different forms of identity, I will examine these chronicles for their sense of temporal identity: self-construction of the individual or institution in terms of the relationship of the present to the past and the future.

Of three main chapters or sections, my first chapter will analyse the relation of authorial self to historical time in the work of a single author (canon and diplomat Adam Murimuth); the second chapter will focus on the writings (composition and compilation) of one powerful religious institution – Ramsey Abbey – and particularly one manuscript which contains Ramsey’s copy of Murimuth’s chronicle. The third chapter will conduct a similar investigation into two shorter chronicle collections of much the same period and with interests in common. They originate respectively from a secular cathedral (Lichfield) and a small priory of regular canons (Fineshade), and, as do Ramsey’s writings, contain a mixture of assembled and original material. This selection offers a range of perspectives and styles which I believe will engender more fruitful discussion of the question of temporal identity than would a study which considered only the large-scale, well-known, ‘authoritative’ histories of the period.


Conceptual Framework and Introduction.
My introduction will establish the key terms ‘author’ and ‘temporal identity’, discussing them in relation to theological and philosophical attitudes to auctoritas and time inherited by the early fourteenth century. Contextualising the theoretical with reference to the (usually) more work-a-day attitudes of the chronicles under consideration, I will use this discussion to provide the groundwork for the terminology on which the remainder of the thesis will rely.

My concept of ‘author’ will draw heavily on the work of A. J. Minnis (Theory of Authorship), according to whom exegetes of the late thirteenth century were beginning to develop an awareness of (and interest in) the idea of the author as an individual with human qualities, rather than as simply the effector of the authoritative text (5). Concurrent with this change in focus came terms for defining more precisely the role of any given writer: Minnis follows Bonaventura in using ‘scribe’, ‘compiler’, ‘commentator’, and ‘author’, in that order (94-95). These terms (while necessarily simplified) will allow for a nuanced discussion of the roles potentially involved in the production of any given text. By including the ‘scribe’ (who theoretically, according to Bonaventura, writes the words of others “nihil mutando,” qtd. Minnis 94), my discussion can encompass not only abstract and original composition, but the decision to reproduce an existing text, possibly with certain alterations, and the physical practicalities of doing so.

I will differ from Minnis in two ways: by adding the term ‘writer’ to refer less specifically to any of these four roles; and by applying the concept not only to an individual man but to a community – particularly, for my discussion, a regular religious institution. I will consider both individual and institutional identity as important mediaeval social constructs, and contend that, while they may not be entirely analogous, they do reflect usefully on each other, are in many cases inextricable, and cannot be considered entirely in isolation one from the other.

Minnis’ account of a rising awareness of “the human qualities” of the individual author by the end of the thirteenth century is a useful one here (5), in distinguishing between the writer who composes as an individual and the writer who represents the institution. Speaking in terms of biblical exegesis (as the major centre for the development and replication of literary theories in the late Middle Ages), Minnis argues that the emphasis on divine inspiration of texts had previously hampered recognition of human authorship. By the end of the thirteenth century, a new type of exegesis was fashionable, emphasising human creativity, in which the author appeared as an agent, not a vessel (4-5). This movement towards what Minnis calls a “more literary” interest in texts (ibid) need not imply that all writing suddenly became individualised and autonomous. Those engaged in more traditional, more work-a-day, or less personally engaging writing might well have continued to follow the older model which remained available to them: a well-established, respectable mode of writing and thinking in which the author remained subordinate to the text that he received, interpreted and transmitted. A similar case might be made for the conceptual difference between a writer who works pro se and one who conceives his work as a product of the community in which he lives. Minnis’ work can, therefore, form the groundwork of a model of identity as well as a model of authorship.

The arrangement of my material allows me to focus first on the individual self, then the institutional, then to make a comparative analysis between them. My first chapter will consider a writer, Adam Murimuth, who seems to write almost entirely pro se, and about whom much may be said as an individual. In my second chapter, it is almost impossible to discern any individual, and the compositional tradition and inspiration belongs to one monastic community. However, the chronicles of Fineshade and Lichfield, which I will discuss in my third chapter, appear each to be a project overseen by one man writing as a member of the community he inhabits. Both individual and institution appear in an authorial role, and the relationship between these two authorial impulses will therefore be more capable of discussion in these chronicles than it could be in my first two chapters.

My second key term, ‘temporal identity’, can be broadly defined as self-construction (by an individual or a community) in terms of one’s place in historical time; that is, one’s sense of existing in a particular historical moment, defined against the centuries that come before it and one’s idea of what is to come. This necessitates considering not only the typical fourteenth-century conception of the time from Creation until Judgement Day (if indeed there is such a thing), but how one particular age, lifetime or year may be considered by one of its inhabitant to relate to that grand whole. The concepts of long-term, impersonal time necessarily intersects with short-term subjective time – occasionally quite literally. Adam Murimuth, for example, dates each year of his chronicle by giving the number of years since the birth of Christ and the regnal years of king and pope, thus positioning his narrative relative to the broad arc of God’s plan for the universe and the immediate, finite span of secular politics. However, in later years, he also inserts his own age as a counter – whether as a boast, personal note, or proof of the extensive reach of his own memory, he does not say.

I intend to investigate not how the entire span of Creation is perceived by the writers I study, but how they position themselves – as individuals, as institutions, as members of a particular century or year – within that span. I find that the turbulent first half of the fourteenth century provides a particularly interesting period for such a study, for its qualities both representative and unique. While it inherits the philosophies, attitudes and literary styles of previous centuries, I will argue that it is possible to trace a change in attitudes to society’s position in time and a chronicler’s individual duty to past, present, and future. While the perception of the broad span of earthly time remains more or less constant – one long story shaped by an eternal hand, bounded by the Creation and the Last Judgement, subordinate to heavenly time which exists for eternity – the chroniclers’ ideas of the role of a generation within that time seem to change with the social, political, and economic crises of early fourteenth century.

Adam Murimuth, when he began writing his chronicle in (probably) the late 1320s, opened it by quoting the famous maxim of Horace: Res audita perit, litera scripta manet (“The event that is heard perishes, the word that is written remains”, 3). The maxim – the inclusion of which he justifies on the grounds that it derives from “antiqu[i]s” - draws a sharp contrast not only between audita and scripta, between perit and manet, but between res and litera. Murimuth begins his formidable task by asserting that an event has no permanency, no lasting form of its own, until changed, shaped, formed into the lasting, tangible letter. He highlights from the first the tension between the heard and the written, hearsay and auctoritas, the transitory and the stable, the temporal and the eternal.

These contrasting pairs, though strongly felt and well-rooted in contemporary scholastic understanding of earthly time and the relation between the created and the divine, must become problematic when applied to the composition of ‘history’. The wielder of the quill is human and mortal – like the res audita, he will perish. In writing of events of his own time, presumably he must rely at least a little on the spoken word, where no written history yet exists. Yet he fulfils a role that necessitates standing outside of time, giving form (and meaning) to the past and consciously delivering it to the future. In a society so accustomed to thinking in figures and allegory, such a role must be at least potentially analogous to that of the only being who is not subject to time at all, who shapes history to his will.

Writers such as Adam Murimuth – and he is not alone, though neither is he typical – who write their name and intentions firmly into the opening of their histories, often seem conscious of the historical moment – in both senses – of the task they undertake. Murimuth speaks to the future and seems hardly to write for his present audience – an audience for whom he cannot have the auctoritas of those historians who are already dead.[1] Other writers whom I will consider in my thesis did not take such a stance, preferring to deflect authority back onto the materials they copy rather than their own compositions, or onto the historical genre itself, or onto the weighty reputation of their abbey or cathedral. Whether the historian as an individual has a place within the history to which he contributes (and for which he writes) seems uncertain, but there could be no doubt that (for example) Ramsey Abbey was as fixed and stable an historical object as anything could be.

[1: Minnis argues that only the works of an established author, whose life is firmly in the past, could possess genuine auctoritas, pointing out the common practice of attributing popular contemporary texts to older auctores to strengthen their appeal, value and legitimacy (9-12). He also quotes at some length the complaint of Walter Map, a late twelfth-century writer who felt that the only fault in his work is “that I am alive... each age from the beginning has preferred the past to itself” (qtd. Minnis 11-12).]

The idea of not only the individual but the community or institution possessing an identity within time raises the question of the etymology of ‘temporal’ and ‘secular’,[2] terms which define the unprivileged bulk of humanity by its subjection to the unstoppable progression of the years. This terminology implicitly positions monasteries (being regular, rather than ‘secular’) outside the world, aspirant to the atemporality of the divine. This privileged position may both justify and render problematic their literary function as conduits of memory and voices of the past. In considering these questions, I will draw on significant recent critical work on the important and uses of memory, both individual and social.[3]

[2: Derived from the Latin noun saeculum, a generation or an age. In later Christian Latin, however, it acquired the concurrent meaning of ‘the world’, as opposed either to the church or to monastic retirement.
3: See particularly the work in Medieval Concepts of the Past (ed. Althoff, Fried and Geary) in 2002 and McKitterick’s Perceptions of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (2004). Frederick and Jennifer Paxton have (variously) published similar work applying directly to twelfth-century English chronicle writing in 2004-5. Paul Strohm’s observations in England’s Empty Throne (1998) on the power and political use of prophecy make an interesting corollary to the use of memory: potentially, canny use of prophecies could control the present by means of a past view of the future, and justify the past actions of the present speaker in order to make secure future power.]

I will complete the introduction by describing the kinds of questions I intend to ask of the sources in the subsequent chapters; in particular, whether we can detect a sense in contemporary chronicle-writing that this period is in some way momentous or definitive, and whether the relationship between history and historian changes from 1307 (the beginning of Edward II’s dramatic and ill-fated reign) until 1348 and the arrival of the Black Death. I will then briefly introduce the main chronicles and manuscripts that I intend to discuss in the remainder of my thesis.


Chapter 1: Ego, Adam Murimuth: Naming, Anonymity, and Authority.
In my first section I will work from a single published text, Adam Murimuth’s chronicle of the first half of the fourteenth century. Murimuth chronicles his own time, from 1303 until his death in 1347, and he emphasises the role of experience and personal memory in the process of composition (“ex visu et auditu mei temporis” (4)). In this chapter, my focus will be primarily on literary analysis of Murimuth’s style, priorities and choices, rather than questions of textual transmission and manuscript history.

Adam Murimuth is a particularly interesting subject for a study of an individual’s beliefs and assertions about his own personal role in writing history. He opens his chronicle with a statement of self, intent, and method; before 1328, he takes part (as a diplomat and a bureaucrat) in the action he narrates; in the later years of his chronicle he regularly inserts his own age as a counter, equivalent with the papal year, regnal year and years since Christ’s birth; yet he draws as far as possible back from narrating those events in which he participated directly, refers to himself in the third person whenever he cannot avoid mentioning his involvement, and the years in which he was most actively involved in politics are the years for which his narrative is most sparse and uninformative. For example, although he was an important international emissary during the latter half of Edward II’s reign, we hear very little of the negotiations in which he was directly involved. He also maintains an uncharacteristic silence on the major events and developments in the bishopric of Exeter, despite – or perhaps because of - his own managerial role there for several years after the murder of Bishop Stapleton (1327).[4]

[4: Documented in the letter book of John de Grandisson, bishop of Exeter 1327-1369. To date these letters have received little attention relative to Murimuth.]

As I have already mentioned, the maxim with which Murimuth opens his chronicle (and indeed the whole of his introduction) simultaneously invokes the transitory nature of mortal existence and positions himself, as author, outside it. The same curious balance between humility and pride, between the vanity of worldly striving and the (literal) ego of one who means to outlive it, reappear with each use of the first person. This, together with his omissions and emphases throughout, suggests a strong conceptual distinction between Murimuth the author of history and Murimuth the actor within it – if, indeed, he considers the latter to exist. Given his minute interest in the appointments and troubles of other English dioceses, these silences and inconsistencies beg investigation.


Chapter 2: Writing the Institution: Ramsey Abbey.
My second chapter will shift my focus from an individual’s conception of his own historical writing within time, to that of a single monastery. From a discussion of Murimuth’s text, I will move on to a case study of one of its manuscript witnesses, British Library MS Additional 54184 (formerly Deene Park), and the institutional and local history that gave rise to its production. My focus will be on how the institution itself is conceived to relate to time, particularly the less passive moments in which the writer(s) deliberately emphasise their institution’s place within history, reshaping time around it.

Ramsey Abbey inherits a particularly assertive tradition in this regard, a legacy of the civil wars of the twelfth century and the depredations suffered by several of the powerful Benedictine monasteries of the English Fenlands during Stephen’s reign.[5] Add. 54184 is an adaptation of the chronicles of Henry of Huntingdon, Nicholas Trevet, and Adam Murimuth into one continuous history, compiled by the venerable Fenlands monastery at a crucial moment in its history. According to the British Library catalogue entry for this manuscript, there has been a certain amount of rewriting and editing of all three chronicles (particularly Murimuth’s), but the paucity of work conducted on this manuscript leaves the extent and nature of this work uncertain. I intend to examine these changes in particular, but also the manuscript as a complete project, to investigate Ramsey’s aims and priorities in creating this book at this time.

[5: In 1142, Geoffrey of Mandeville, first earl of Essex, invaded and sacked the abbey and evicted the monks, garrisoning the premises as a fortress in his rebellion against Stephen. The civil wars took their toll on Ramsey’s neighbouring monasteries as well: in that and the next year, the earl looted the Isle of Ely and terrorised much of the Fenlands. The trauma to the collective imagination of communities accustomed to think of themselves as permanent and inviolable is, as Jennifer Paxton demonstrates, amply witnessed in the house histories written by several of these monasteries over the next few decades.]

In conjunction with this manuscript, in which Ramsey Abbey appears more as compilator than author, I will examine a text more properly the Abbey’s own: its Liber Benefactorum. Superficially a rather disjointed house history which inherits its most noticeable stylistic traits from the old charters and grants it compiles (and perhaps occasionally fabricates), it is, upon closer examination, a powerful assertion of the Abbey’s rights, identity, and power (political and miraculous).[6] It was composed in direct response to the trauma of the civil wars of Stephen’s reign, a physical object that could embody and encompass what had been abruptly proven too insubstantial: not only legal ownership but the idea of Ramsey Abbey, the community’s sense of self. The two extant manuscripts, however, date from the end of the thirteenth century or opening of the fourteenth, within a decade or two of the commencement of the volume that we know today as Add. 54184.[7]

[6: See particularly Jennifer Paxton’s demonstration of such a reading of this and other comparable local histories of its generation in “Lords and Monks” and “Textual Communities.”
7: Neil Ker dates Add. 54184 to the beginning of the fourteenth century, but only notes the first chronicle by name. The British Library catalogue dates it to the middle of the fourteenth century. As all three entries are in different hands (there are four main hands in total), and the text of Murimuth’s chronicle continues through to 1334, both may be correct, giving up to four distinct stages of compilation marked by time as well as hand. ]

The fact that the Liber was re-copied at least twice at the close of the thirteenth century may suggest that, at the beginning of the period under inquiry, Ramsey was feeling the need to reassert its ability to yoke the past to present privilege, as it had done in crisis before. That the economic downturn, famines, crop failures, and civil wars of the first three decades of the fourteenth century were sorely felt by the abbey once known as Ramsey the Rich is witnessed by certain of the documents appended to manuscripts of the Liber Benefactorum (and included in the appendices by Macray).[8] The social status, and political power of monastic institutions were also suffering a decline more sustained and widespread than that to which Ramsey Abbey responded in composing the Liber in the twelfth century. In light of the new physical form given to the text of the Liber at the close of the thirteenth century, the presence and contents of Add. 54184 – particularly the presence of the chronicle of their close neighbour and advocate, Henry of Huntingdon – offer intriguing possibilities as a sustained project of historical restatement and reassertion on a similar (if broader) scale.

[8: Particularly revealing are the letter books of abbots John de Sawtrey (1285-1316) and Simon de Eye (1316-42), and a short account of the abbacy of the latter entitled “De obitu Simonis Eye quondam Abbatis, et de diversis notabilibus per ipsum factis in vita sua” (“Of the death of Simon Eye, formerly the Abbot, and of the many notable deeds done by him in his lifetime”, 349-53). The “notabiles” that the composer saw fit to record are obsessively, almost exclusively, concerned with money.]

These two texts, then, appear to complement each other productively for a consideration of the social function of history writing in constructing an institution’s identity. My particular focus will be on how the community for which (and by whom) a history was written might construct its own identity through its uses of time, memory, projection, and prophecy in acts of writing (whether compository or compilatory). Omissions, additions, divisions, layout, and alterations must be considered in the light of the abbey’s own conception of the purpose of history writing and its relation to the institution.

For comparative purposes, I will engage closely with the substantial critical attention already devoted to the literary heritage of Ramsey’s close neighbour, St Albans. There is also a strong corpus of recent scholarship on the use of written (and rewritten) memory in mediaeval monastic circles, particularly the exemplarity of patron saints, divine intervention in monastic founding myths, and statements of institutional power in relation to relics or land claims. Although most critical attention has centred on the Carolingian period, works such as Amy Remensnyder’s “Topographies of Memory,” Jennifer Paxton’s “Textual Communities,” and Rosamond McKitterick’s Perceptions of the Past could be applied fruitfully to the later Middle Ages.

It should also be noted that the manuscript itself, Add. 54184, has received little critical attention. It remained in a private collection at Deene Park until 8 April 1967, when the estate of George Brudenell sold it to the British Library (BL “Add. 54184”; see also Ker and Watson). Its late addition to a public collection means that most of the critical editions of the chronicles in question do not take this manuscript into account. The exception is Diana Greenway’s 1996 edition of the Historia Anglorum of Henry of Huntingdon; however, as this manuscript is not a particularly valuable witness to the text of that chronicle, Greenway spends little time on it. A good codicological description is available on the British Library online catalogue, but the text remains unstudied. I will transcribe any variations from published editions for my own reference, and hope I may make any significant differences available to other scholars in the wake of this project.

I will consult this manuscript (as well as those for the next chapter) in microfilm. However, I also intend a visit to the British Library in October as a research assistant to Professor Taylor, which will allow me to consult the manuscripts directly.




Chapter 3: Composition and Compilation: the Chronicle Collections of Lichfield Cathedral and Fineshade Priory
My third chapter will undertake a similar exercise to the second, but examine two chronicle collections written and compiled during the 1320s in a more modest tradition than the Benedictine. The first is a project led by a member of the secular clergy – Alan of Ashbourne, vicar for Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire – and the second apparently by an unknown regular canon at the small Augustinian priory of Fineshade in Northamptonshire.

Although there is, on the surface, little to connect these two manuscripts beyond their approximate dating and the fact that Sir Robert Cotton bound both into one volume in the early 1610s (BL Cotton Cleopatra D IX), there are several suggestive parallels between them. Both manuscripts contain a mixture of original writing and copied material, but with a considerable difference in scope and vision. Lichfield’s, written by her vicar, Alan of Ashbourne, is a book of historical lists, annals, and stories, in Latin and Anglo-Norman, including the history of the world and closing with the vicar’s own history of Coventry and Lichfield up to his own time. The Fineshade manuscript, by contrast, consists of a short chronicle and several supporting documents, all concerned with a very narrow temporal window and a specific historical place: the civil wars of 1321-22, with an emphasis on events in the north. Both texts, however, demonstrate a drive to set local concerns in a universal context. Similarly, the contents and priorities of the chronicles seem to place their writers among the many across England who felt prompted by the civil and natural disturbances of the 1320s to impose some order on events and dignify them with the name of history, to construct a meaningful and comprehensible idea of their own time and its relation to past and future.

Sections of each manuscript have been published. George Haskins published editions of the chronicle and several of the other documents from the Fineshade manuscript in Speculum and the English Historical Review between 1937 and 1939. Georgine Brereton, in 1937, published the version of Des Grantz Geanz (an Anglo-Norman romance of the founding of Albion) to which the Lichfield manuscript is the sole witness. Alan of Ashbourne’s local history, however, around which the remainder of the manuscript he compiled must be read, has never been published.[9] This piecemeal treatment of the manuscripts obscures their internal cohesion: each, I believe, can be demonstrated to have a clear logical structure and a definite set of goals driving its assembly. The Lichfield manuscript shows a balance between dry lists and narrative chronicles, and the field of vision narrows steadily from the universal to the national to the local. The selection and arrangement of the contents of the Fineshade manuscript also suggest a careful overall design: gathered as they are, they tell a story, and rather a personal one, of the wars as witnessed either by the canon who wrote it or by Fineshade’s patron, John Engayne, to whom several of the letters are addressed.

[9: The original manuscript (or a mid-fifteenth-century copy) was, however, consulted by William Whitelocke in the late 1560s in the composition of his own history of Lichfield Cathedral.]

Given this cohesion, I think it reasonable to consider each collection as the product of one ordered purpose, and thus capable of being analysed as a whole, and interrogated as to the social function of history writing in constructing the identity of both individual and institution in relation to the past and present.

My final chapter will thus re-visit questions and concepts raised in earlier sections, but from a perspective should allow for a discussion that is simultaneously better-rounded, and more specific. As communities, Fineshade and Lichfield are in many ways very different from Ramsey Abbey – for example, their size, structure, political power, age, finances, literary tradition, even the rule (or lack of it) shaping the pace of their daily lives. Alan of Ashbourne and the anonymous Fineshade writer(s) may have been impelled in their writing by reasons very different from those of Adam Murimuth, the well-travelled diplomat who wrote himself into and out of his chronicle. The similarities and differences in these various chronicles thus allow for a certain amount of careful extrapolation from the specific to the general. This will necessarily be balanced, however, by the highly individual characteristics of the chronicles (and manuscripts) selected, as it is hardly the purpose of this study to sketch a universal rule for the entire period. The differences and similarities between the chronicles will rather be used to understand those aspects that are unique and curious in each work, the better to compare each writer’s attempts to construct or understand their own identity within their historical time.


Bibliography.
Manuscripts.
London. British Library MS Additional 54184 (Ramsey manuscript of Henry of Huntingdon, Trevet and Murimuth). Formerly Deene Park.
--- MS Cotton Cleopatra D IX (contains the house chronicles of Lichfield Cathedral and Fineshade).
--- MS Cotton Vespasian A XVIII (Ramsey chartulary and parts of Liber Benefactorum).
London: Public Record Office E 164/28 ff. 132-61 (Liber Benefactorum, vols. 1-3 in Macray’s edition).
Manuscript catalogues and data.
Ker, Neil R. Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books. 1941. 2nd ed. London: Royal Historical Society, 1964.
---, ed. “Patrick Young’s Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Lichfield Cathedral.” Medieval and Renaissance Studies 2 (1950): 151-168.
Ker, Neil R. and Watson, Andrew G. Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books. Supplement to the Second Edition. London: Royal Historical Society, 1987.

Editions of primary sources.
Grandisson, John de. The Register of John de Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter (AD 1327-1369). Ed. F. C. Hingeston-Randolph. London: George Bell, 1894.
Haskins, George L., ed. “A Chronicle of the Civil Wars of Edward II.” Speculum (1939): 73-81.
---, ed. “The Doncaster Petition, 1321.” English Historical Review 53 (1938): 478-485.
---, ed. “Judicial Proceedings against a Traitor after Boroughbridge, 1322.” Speculum 4 (1937): 509-511.
Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon. Henrici Archidiaconi Huntendunensis Historia Anglorum. Ed. Thomas Arnold. London: Longman, 1879. Rolls Series 74.
---. Historia Anglorum. Ed. and trans. Diana E. Greenway. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
Murimuth, Adam. Continuatio Chronicarum. Adae Murimuth Continuatio Chronicarum et Robert de Avesbury De Gestis Mirabilibus Regis Edwardi Tertii. Ed. Edward Maunde Thompson. London: Longman, 1889. 1-276. Rolls Series 93.
Ramsey Abbey. Chronicon Abbatiae Rameseiensis. Ed. W. Dunn Macray. London: Longman, 1886. Rolls Series 83.
Trokelowe, John, and Henry Blaneford. Chronica Monasterii S. Albani Johannis de Trokelowe et Henry de Blaneford. Ed. Henry Thomas Riley. London: Longman, 1866. Rolls Series 28.

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6 comments:

tenthmedieval said...

Is this still in process? If it's beyond change, I don't think these things matter very much, but if a last edit is possible you may want to consider them. My apologies if you weren't really after feedback, I claim provocation by a comments link. Minor possible changes:

This selection offers a range of perspectives and styles which I believe will engender more fruitful discussion of the question of temporal identity than would a study which considered only the large-scale, well-known, ‘authoritative’ histories of the period.

I would suggest replacing "which I believe will" with "should". It seems self-evident that if done properly this approach has that potential, if the opposition is defined in these terms, so it doesn't need to be just a 'belief'.

My final chapter will thus re-visit questions and concepts raised in earlier sections, but from a perspective should allow for a discussion that is simultaneously better-rounded, and more specific.

"... perspective should allow..." should be "... perspective that should allow...", I think.

More generally, you say a lot about Minnis here, getting into quite deep critique when one might think you could be saying more about you. How much would it change the proposal if, say, the sixth paragraph , "Minnis' account...", were entirely deleted? Would that change all be bad? I, of course, don't know what demands you're writing to so perhaps this level of engagement with the literature is required of you; but that paragraph at least seems slightly to rehash the fourth and take the focus away from your own contribution.

But it's clear that you have a contribution! This is fiendishly complex for Master's work, I am rather in awe of your learning and clear command of the evidence. So whatever I think about minor points of presentation, it's not as important as the fact that this already makes you appear very scholarly.

I shall be extremely busy in October, but if there's anything I can easily do for you in Oxford (where I will be) or indeed Cambridge (where I will be less) while you're here, do let me know. My e-mail is in the left-hand column of my (outdated) webpages here. It would be delightful to meet for tea in London or something.

tenthmedieval said...

Blast, sorry. Blogger insisted the first version had failed. Feel free to delete appropriately (including this)!

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

That's at least partly my fault! I saw the, when I went to moderate them and figured that's what happened, but was too rushed to read them comparatively to see if edition 1 was equal in all points to edition 2. I suppose we could considre it the digital equivalent of a typographical error that is to codicologists a Feature.

Coffee in London would be lovely - I don't know if I'll get out of London (though I really should try, shouldn't I?) but I'll certainly be spending plenty of time in the BL.

And yes, the proposal has been submitted, but I'm glad you didn't pick up on anything more major! The detail on Minnis was inserted at the request of my supervisor, who felt it was important to know exactly what definition of 'author' I was using at what point, and exactly how it relates to the theoretical groundwork done by Minnis, so that's deliberate. And I thought I'd managed to cull all my diffident 'I believe that' and 'which should's, but apparently not! Oh well. Apparently they are a feature of my writing. Thank you for reading it closely enough to comment, though! I do appreciate it.

tenthmedieval said...

I only just thought to come back to this, sorry. Yes, London is good (and do try and get to some seminars at the Institute of Historical Research if you can, the great and the good do there assemble) and very full of things (and also stuff), but there are other places. Many of them have more green space and less traffic, also (though in London the green space does sometimes feature parakeets).

If we should meet at the BL (and this is quite likely given my need for its stuff) you must let me buy. Its café is the kind of expensive I would feel bad about obliging a student to pay.

Hannah Kilpatrick said...

You know - and this is kind of silly - I've only just started to realise how much I'm going to want to see in London. Because there are so many things there that only exist in fiction and myth in my head - but they are actual real places. And I will BE there. And - weird. For once in my life I might actually get touristy. I shall put the IHR on that list in my head!

Also, it did occur to me that, since Lichfield Cathedral is actually still in use and still has the library (building, if not contents) built in the 1200s, and since I'm working on the chronicle their vicar wrote in the 1320s, which hasn't been transcribed or extensively studied before, I should probably stop by there and see if anyone's interested... but that's way up in Staffordshire. Must get around to emailing.

And that is also weird. Emailing a place that, in my head, exists in the 14th century.

tenthmedieval said...

Emailing a place that, in my head, exists in the 14th century.

Yes! I have this with my monasteries also. Should monasteries even have e-mail? and if so, only the abbot? etc.