Class of 1978 Pavilion, Kislak Center, 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
How did medieval teaching identify the “literary” or “literature” as a particular quality to be achieved and imitated? What was the role of style in defining the realm of the “literary”? I will address these questions through a material context: a modest anthology from the thirteenth century, MS Glasgow, Hunterian, MS V.8.15. This teaching collection, devoted to rhetorical manuals and poems that illustrate rhetorical technique, expresses its interests in terms quite different from what we associate with better known and prestigious poetic anthologies such as the Codex Buranus as well as other teaching collections. The Glasgow anthology reveals its motives in terms that are at once material and metaliterary. It represents itself as a material witness to a period of innovataive teaching, and it signals a moment at which medieval rhetoric recognizes itself as the instrument for theorizing literary style as the engine of emotion.
This talk is part of the Material Texts Series in the Dept of English. Click here for more info on this series.