By John Dagenais
Reexamining the jobs performed by way of writer, reader, scribe, and textual content in medieval literary perform, John Dagenais argues that the total actual manuscript needs to be the root of any dialogue of the way which means used to be made. Medievalists, he keeps, have relied too seriously on severe variations that search to create a unmarried, definitive textual content reflecting an author's intentions. in truth, manuscripts undergo not just authorial texts but additionally various parts further via scribes and readers: glosses, marginal notes, pointing fingers, illuminations, and fragments of alternative, likely unrelated works. utilizing the surviving manuscripts of the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor, a piece that has been learn either as didactic treatise on religious love and as a party of sensual pleasures, Dagenais indicates how attention of the actual manuscripts and their cultural context can shed new mild on interpretive concerns that experience questioned sleek readers. Dagenais additionally addresses the speculation and perform of interpreting within the center a while, exhibiting that for medieval readers the textual content at the manuscript leaf, together with the textual content of the Libro, was once essentially rhetorical and moral in nature. It spoke to them without delay, separately, continually within the current second. Exploring the margins of the manuscripts of the Libro and of different Iberian works, Dagenais unearths how medieval readers regularly reshaped their texts, either bodily and ethically as they learn, and argues that the context of medieval manuscript tradition forces us to think again such cozy obtained notions as "text" and "literature" and the theories now we have dependent upon them.
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Extra resources for The Ethics of Reading in Manuscript Culture
He quotes Roger E. Stoddard: “Whatever they may do, authors do not write books. Books are not written at all. ” Chartier adds: This gap, which is the space in which meaning is constructed, has too often been overlooked, not only by the classical approaches, which consider the work itself as a pure text whose typographical forms do not matter, but also by reception theory . . , which postulates a direct, immediate relationship between the “text” and the reader, between the “textual signals” used by the author and the “horizon of expectation” of those he addresses.
The original text contains all the possible senses and subsequent interpretations” (Spitzer, “En torno” 123). Spitzer and Allen, then, work out a model of the functioning of medieval ethical texts by which the text somehow contains its readers and the act of reading. Allen’s analysis of the medieval ethical poetic remains bound to the idea that the basis of literary (or ethical) inquiry is the literary text, which, through Allen’s discovery of this poetic, is now opened to include the reader or his or her reenactment.
The quirks or ideological program or dialect of the scribe or manuscript sponsor are effaced out of respect for the original authored text. If the manuscript contains “minor” works or “unrelated” works or fragments, although these constitute a manuscript book compiled by medieval readers and handed on to other readers, the context of THE LARGER GLOSS 19 the minor works and fragments is reduced to a few notes in the manuscript description (except on those rare occasions when these works come together to comprise a single-author anthology).