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Studies in the Vernon Manuscript by Derek…

Studies in the Vernon Manuscript (1990)

by Derek Pearsall

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The last twenty years have seen the publication of a large number of late medieval English manuscripts in facsimile form.
The Shaping of
the Vernon and Simeon Manuscript

The Vernon manuscript (hereafterV) originally contained more than 420 leaves of vellum measuring at least twenty-one and a half by fifteen and a half inches, the pages ruled in three or two columns for normally eighty lines of text in each, written by one set English court-hand (cursiva Anglicana formata) of the later fourteenth century, apart from a preliminary quire and some rubrics in other hands, with much illuminated initial and border decoration and miniatures by two artists.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0859913104, Hardcover)

The Vernon manuscript is the largest and in many ways the most important vernacular manuscript of medieval England. Produced in the West Midlands in the late 14th century, at a time when English was in the process of consolidating its hold over Latin and Anglo-Norman as the dominant literary language, it contains a mass of religious writing of all kinds, from pious romances and fables to technical and quasi-mystical treatises. It was, in the intention of its makers, a guide to the soul's health and is to the modern reader an incomparable index to late medieval English spirituality and religious ideas. The publication of a facsimile of the manuscript in 1987 was a mark of its significance for all those who study the English Middle Ages. The present volume of essays, following on from the publication of the facsimile, explores the manuscript from a variety of different points of view: the make-up and organization of the volume as a whole, its relationship to other such books, and the particular significance of some of the religious writings it contains, as well as those romances and lyrics where the influence of secular and "literary" forms is more sharply apparent. The essays are unanimous on the importance of the manuscript, but also achieve an unexpected consensus on its presumed destination and audience, and its role at its moment in English history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:30 -0400)

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