Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

Roy M. Liuzza

Committee Members

Thomas J. Heffernan, Maura K. Lafferty, Anthony Welch

Abstract

Covering the first dedicated program in the study of and publication of Anglo-Saxon texts, my dissertation examines the sixteenth-century origins of medieval studies as an academic discipline. By placing recent scholarship on media, materiality, cognition, and intellectual history in conversation with traditional paleographical methods on medieval and renaissance manuscript culture, I argue for a new way of understanding how early modern scholars studied and presented the medieval past. I take as my focus a corpus of emulative Anglo-Saxon manuscript transcriptions produced under Elizabethan Archbishop Matthew Parker. Equal parts facsimile and edition, these transcriptions are a unique example of early modern scholars navigating the often competing demands of late sixteenth century manuscript and print culture. This dissertation is, in part, an attempt to catalogue and document the extent of Parkerian Anglo-Saxon manuscript transcriptions. Temporally displaced from their source texts, Parker and his scribes directly modified many of the medieval manuscripts they recovered by editing, rebinding, cropping, and annotating them according to their own interpretive desires and publication needs. These transcriptions place Parker’s early modern scribes into the textual community of early medieval scribal culture, but their printed manuscript editions are an attempt to bring medieval documents into contemporary discourse. They developed new typefaces modeled on manuscript exemplars and attempted to reframe the printed version of a medieval text as an authoritative surrogate for the manuscript original—image and text worked together to craft new meanings. By examining the material scribal practices of Parker’s household, considering the choices made by Parker in preserving texts through both print and manuscript media, and rethinking how early modern antiquaries approached scholarship, I argue that his transcribed manuscripts offer insights into the early modern origins of medieval literary scholarship.

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