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REVIEWS SUZANNE REYNOLDS. Medieval Readin;;: Grammar, Rhetoric and the Classical Text. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, vol. 27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. xvi, 235. $54.95. Narrowly construed, the subject of this book is the glossing of Horace's Satires by grammar teachers in England and northern France during the second half of the twelfth century; but in the manner of the grammar­ ians' glosses, its title discloses a wider authorial intention. In terms of Reynolds's larger purpose, the glosses on Horace's poems illustrate how the pagan classics were read in the Middle Ages, since the ancient Roman poets were studied principally as a means toward learning Latin as a foreign language. "If classical auctores are an instrumental part of learning Latin," Reynolds asks, "what precisely does it mean that stu­ dents 'read' them? How does this affect our notion of what medieval reading was? And how far was that reading shaped by the discipline­ grammatica--of which it appears to be an integral part?" (p. 11). Her answer is that the reading of such texts was mediated by an "expert reader," whose glossing belongs to a "culturally enshrined practice of using literary texts to teach Latin" (p. 31) that is both shaped by and in turn helps to shape the discipline of grammatica. Horace's Satires provide an excellent way into this mediation not only because they were so widely used by twelfth-century Latin teachers (more than eighty twelfth-century copies survive; p. 14), but also be­ cause their complexity and difficulty elicit the full range of the glos­ sators' activity. Not the least of Reynolds's achievements is to introduce order into the apparent chaos of heavily glossed pages such as the one that she reproduces and edits as a "case study" (pp. 32-43). By paying close attention to the functions of individual glosses within a coherent teaching program, she is able to group them into distinct categories. At the most elementary level are "lexical glosses in the vernacular" or "translation glosses," which converted the Latin text into a source of new vocabulary. More sophisticated but stillfocused on single words are glosses that convey information about inflection ("morphological glosses") and glosses that provide lexical information--often including etymologies-in Latin ("synonym glosses"). An important but largely neglected category of glosses are the assorted slashes, dots, letters, and numbers used to identify words that belong to the same syntactic unit or to rearrange such units into "normal" word order ("syntax glosses"). Finally, and most sophisticated of all, are the glosses of tropes, which 315 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER require "the expositor to recreate and mimic the originating thought of the author" (p. 130). While all these varieties of gloss may appear to­ gether on the same page, the relative frequency ofeach kind depends in large part on the level of student addressed. Following the medieval teachers, Reynolds divides the student-readers ofclassical texts into two major categories: elementary students of Latin (pueri) and more ad­ vanced students (provecti). Drawing primarily-but by no means exclu­ sively--on two sets ofglosses, one directed to elementary and the other to advanced students, she contrasts the more "pragmatic" elementary glosses, which convey data to be memorized, with the advanced glosses, which engage more overtly with theoretical issues. The relationship between pedagogy and theory, whether covert or overt, is a major focus of the book, and Reynolds discovers some fasci­ nating connections between the glosses ofthe grammar teachers and the language theories of such figures as Adelard of Bath, William of Conches, and Peter Helias. She displays her learning to best effect in the central chapters (4-8), where she relates the ways in which single words were glossed to twelfth-century theoreticians' preoccupation with the doubleness ofthe word, with its "first imposition" ofnaming things and its metalinguistic "second imposition" ofnaming the names themselves. Less persuasive is her claim that the use of syntactic glosses to convert the artificial word order of the poetic text into the "natural" word order ofnonliterary prose and vernacular speech reveals "a tension between ac­ cepted notions of reading (the glosses) and writing (the text)" (p. 110) that amounts to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 315-317
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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