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Walter Map's De nugis curialium stakes a radical claim for authorship and writing within twelfth-century European literary culture. Map imagines a form of authorship based on his ambivalence toward his immediate court context and the alterity of his being a subordinate, belated writer. He privileges materials from the margins of established literary discourse, and he fashions reading not just as the application of fit moral lessons but as an active, potentially unstable site of intellectual labor and textual meaning. In key episodes of his book, Map goes beyond self-reflexive commentary to test the limits of his precepts and the artistic freedom they allow.