13th C. Literacy

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Thalion
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13th C. Literacy

Post by Thalion »

Hi all,

I'm looking for links and manuscripts on literacy in the 13th C. as I'm wondering the process of making paper, and how common books would have been (Basically I want to know more about everything surrounding the subject as I don't know where to look on the internet other than here)

Regards,
Thalion.
Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

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40/- freeholder
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by 40/- freeholder »

I'm sure Brother Ranulf will soon be along with definitive references.
In the meantime, trying searching for images of St Anne teaching the child Virgin Mary to read. Karen Larsdatter's website is always a good starting point, just put Larsdatter into Google. There's a general view now that aristocratic women, who needed to be able to read accounts, were able to read and taught their daughters. Writing was a separate, and masculine, preserve.
For more scholarly work, anything by Michel Camille is worth a read and he is very provocative. Mirror in Parchment is about the Luttrell Psalter. Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art certainly contains examples and discussion of C13th works.
Robert Grosseteste's Rules were explicitly written for a noblewomen running her own estates.

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Brother Ranulf »

I understand that Christopher de Hamel's brief but excellent and detailed book "Scribes and Illuminators" is prescribed reading at universities. It covers the evolutions in book production and exactly who was doing the writing and who was doing the buying, as well as changes in techniques and styles. Both parchment (and vellum) and paper are covered; it's a really useful starting point for further research on the subject (and it includes a list of books to take you further into the subject). It is currently available at a reasonable price from Amazon.

The second book I would recommend is Rowan Watson's "Illuminated Manuscripts and their Makers", which again covers book production throughout the period, working methods and mass-produced books in the later medieval. It is a real gem, but it is more expensive than de Hamel's work.

If you are interested in book production in 13th century England, you can forget about paper. It was certainly known about and used for other purposes, but paper books did not really get going here until the late 1300s - and there was much opposition even then.

In modern terms, sourcing good quality double-sided writing parchment or vellum in quantity is next to impossible and will quickly bankrupt you. Using modern top quality "parchment paper" is a more realistic proposition and definitely the way to go if you intend to manufacture your own medieval books.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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gregory23b
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by gregory23b »

ditto BR about Duhamel and the paper.

Or do a later period and use paper....
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

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Thalion
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Thalion »

Hi Brother Ranulf,

I just think it's an interesting subject for 13th C. and alot of the writing medium was for things like charters, as books were expensive. And thanks for the links, I'm sure they'll help me very much. I'm especially interested in the writing techniques, and some art styles.

Thanks & regards,
Thalion.
Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Ordinis Hospitalis Sancti Johannis Jerusalem
Ava Crux Alba

Thalion
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Thalion »

Brother Ranulf,

Is there any specific books or links that go in depth in 13th C. Literacy? looked into the books you've listed and will buy at a later date. Sorry if they're already covered in the books as I haven't got them yet.And when I mentioned paper, I mean a general medium on which they write (Modern terms still plague me).

Regards,
Thalion.
Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Ordinis Hospitalis Sancti Johannis Jerusalem
Ava Crux Alba

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saracen
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by saracen »

On medieval orality and literacy:
Michael T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record. England 1066-1307, 2nd edition (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993)
Joachim Bumke, Courtly Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991)
Ralph Turner, The 'Miles Literatus' in Twelfth-and-Thirteenth-Century England: How Rare a Phenomenon? American Historical Review 1978
And more general theory:
Ruth Finnegan, Literacy and Orality, (Oxford 1988)
Walter J Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, (2nded. New York: Routledge, 2002)
There's lots more - I'm travelling at the moment and don't have access to my records, but that's what I remember offhand, hope it helps.

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Saracen has covered it well, but I would urge extreme caution when looking at evidence for things like general literacy. People today are ready to accept a very few well-known examples of (for instance) women authors and scribes and then conclude that all women were capable of writing; or they take a small number of literate noblemen and conclude that all the nobility were literate.

This is false logic, a bit like claiming that some Scots wear kilts, therefore all Europeans wear kilts.

There is no evidence that king John, for example, could either write or read. Next year's Magna Carta anniversary will still see people claiming that John signed that document - a widespread urban myth.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Thalion
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Thalion »

Hi Brother Ranulf,

Thanks for the advice and I'll try and remember it.

Regards,
Thalion.
Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Ordinis Hospitalis Sancti Johannis Jerusalem
Ava Crux Alba

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Ronald
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Re: 13th C. Literacy

Post by Ronald »

Hi,

I would like to recommend the following book, co-writen by my friend Dr Katrin Kania and Dr Gillian Polack:
The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England 1050-1300
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Middle-Ages-Unl ... ords=kania

Kind regards, Ronald
The miracle is: The more we share the more we have
(Leonard Nimoy)

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