Essays in Honour of Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser
Edited By Simon Rosenberg and Sandra Simon
Patterns of Collaboration among the Makers of the Auchinleck Manuscript (National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ MS 19.2.1)
Jessica Hardenberger, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster
This article is concerned with the collaboration patterns among the scribes and paraphers of the Auchinleck manuscript. It suggests a comparatively balanced view of the responsibilities shared by the different individuals, challenging the idea that the major scribe was also the central organizer.
Among the extensive holdings of the National Library of Scotland there is one codex that can be considered one of the most intriguing documents of Middle English literary history.1 On more than three hundred folios, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ MS 19.2.1 (frequently referred to as Auchinleck manuscript after an eighteenth-century owner) assembles a highly heterogeneous collection of almost exclusively Middle English texts, often translations from French. These include hagiography, moral and didactic items, humorous tales and a chronicle, debates, and religious instructional texts, to name just a few. The manuscript has received particular scholarly attention for its impressive number of eighteen romances, about half of which can be attested in Auchinleck only. Finally, with a production date around 1330, it constitutes one of the oldest surviving examples of a commercially produced manuscript in the vernacular, located at an early point in a new phase of gradually more pronounced lay production that is to complement the earlier monastic production pattern with increasing frequency. A significant number of scribes and paraphers – very likely six each – were at work on the manuscript. This fact is the more striking because copies of fifteenth-century vernacular literary...
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