Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-6

List of Abbreviations

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pp. vi-7

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

It is a profound pleasure to work closely with medieval manuscripts, and thus it is a pleasure to acknowledge the institutions that have made that work possible. I wish to thank the staff at All Souls College, Oxford; Balliol College, Oxford; Bodleian Library, Oxford; The British Library; Cambridge University Library; ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

To write is to create something, to invent something, to bring meaning into being through words in a way that did not exist before. Yet writing is also mechanical—the physical act of putting pencil or pen to paper, tracing letters so impossibly familiar that we tend not to register their shapes or how we execute them. ...

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One: The Medieval Scribe

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pp. 14-58

What constitutes sameness and difference has troubled thinkers from Plato to Aquinas to Benjamin, from Hegel to Heidegger to Derrida. Philosophers have challenged the relationship between Idea and Being, argued over how objects exist and how they are perceived, and interrogated the nature of the connections between “an” original and “a” copy.1 ...

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Two: Authority, Quotation, and English Historiography

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pp. 59-99

Copying is an act that can have consequences. It entails a series of complex choices about sources and audience, and enacts a variety of transformations. Copying can be rhetorical, and thus political—a moment of translation, that is, rather than transparent transposition. ...

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Three: History’s Scribes—The Harley Scribe

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pp. 100-145

Chapters 3 and 4 will turn to some of the least-read texts in two of the best-known books written by two of the best-known scribes of early fourteenth century England: the Harley Scribe, responsible for copying three manuscripts including London, BL, MS Harley 2253, and Scribe 1 of the Auchinleck manuscript.1 ...

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Four: The Auchinleck Manuscript and the Writing of History

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pp. 146-187

The Auchinleck manuscript has been called many things by many critics, and read in many different ways, but no critic has ever called the book unimportant. It is a thick book, preserving some forty-three items in Middle English and one piece in Anglo-Norman in the 331 folios that survive intact in the codex.1 ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 188-192

Medieval history writing encouraged some scribes to assemble compilations, others to craft derivative texts, and still others to become scribal authors. The extraordinary number of surviving manuscripts of the Middle English prose Brut is comparable to another very different text, the Wycliffite Bible.1 ...

Plates

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pp. 204-207

Bibliography

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pp. 193-212

Manuscript Index

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pp. 213-214

General Index

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pp. 215-222