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88BOOK REVIEWS ism.The history in and around John's text, and not John's loose references to Franciscan history,merited Stracke-Neumann's attention. For it is to that history that she has contributed her sound and welcome study. David Flood, O.F.M. Montréal, Province de Québec The Register ofWiUiam Bateman, Bishop ofNorwich, 1344-1355,Volume I. Edited by Phyllis E. Pobst. [The Canterbury and York Society,Volume 84.] (Rochester, NewYork:The Boydell Press. 1996. Pp. xxxiv, 135. $53.00.) Bishop WUUam Bateman's diocese of Norwich counted 1,294 parishes. Among the chief sources regarding those parishes are the records of institutions to benefices which compose the registers of the bishops of Norwich. Bateman's register is the first from Norwich to receive a modern edition, for which medievalists are in PhyUis Pobst's debt. Pobst's introduction uses the register to revise in some points Alexander Hamilton Thompson's earlier account of Bateman's career. (There is scant evidence that Bateman conducted a visitation of the diocese in 1345, and he was less of an absentee than Thompson supposed.) This register consists almost solely of material relating to appropriations of, and institutions to, benefices. Pobst notes that such material sheds Ught on the Black Death, from notices of poverty resulting from the plague used to justify appropriations to the steep increase in institutions as rectors and vicars perished. And yet, the diocesan machinery ground on; Pobst finds no sign of disruption in the register itself beyond some institutions squeezed into the lower margins and some folios apparently laid against others whUe the ink was still wet. Pobst's codicological discussion is exceptionally fine, even given the high standards of the Canterbury andYork Society. Readers learn, for example, about the prickings of the MS, the measurements of individual writs sewn into the volume, where scribes have left lines blank, and how many.The palaeographical analysis is similarly exact.The editor identifies fifteen medieval scribes and five modern ones who left traces in the MS. She has worked rigorously to give the reader as accurate an account as possible of the MS within the limits of a calendared edition. Fortunately, the Latin texts of some routine entries, as weU as those of special interest, are promised for the forthcoming second volume . The apparatus is also exemplary in elucidating the text. Pobst identifies aUases of persons appearing in the register using other sources, provides alternate place names for certain sites, and cross-indexes entries with others in the register. Sometimes the rationale for these notices is given at unusual length (e.g., no. 496 n. 36), a helpful practice for readers getting to know the diocese. BOOK REVIEWS89 My reservations are niggling. Pobst generally specifies the nature of the entries in the register, noting which are "letters patent" (e.g., no. 8), which are simply "letters" (e.g., no. 1 1), and which are memoranda (e.g., no. 39).The nature of a few entries is, however, less clear. No. 98, for example, is described as a "letter ofcommission." Does that mean that no. 97, described simply as a"commission," is to be understood as a memorandum and not a letter? If a memorandum, why not an explicit notice as in no. 39? Consistency in such matters is helpful in a calendar. A note for no. 816 explaining why Pobst concludes the letter of induction was sent to the archdeacon of Sudbury rather than to the archdeacon's official would also be useful. But these are smaU desiderata for an exceUent edition . Michael Burger Mississippi Universityfor Women The Reluctant Emperor: A Biography ofJohn Cantacuzene, Byzantine Emperor and Monk, c. 1295-1383- By Donald M. Nicol. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Pp. xiv. 203. $3995.) Some dozen years ago I met Donald M. Nicol at a conference. Reflecting on our mutual interest in the late Byzantine period, we discussed the perennial trend toward overspecialization at the expense ofworks with broader perspectives and grander themes. He summarized this point of view by advising me, then a graduate student, to write "big books." Throughout a distinguished scholarly career Nicol has been true to this counsel, and for the benefit...


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