A comparison of decorative features in the Ælfrician textual tradition

Rae, Emily M. (2021) A comparison of decorative features in the Ælfrician textual tradition. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis investigates the enlarged and decorated initials in manuscripts containing texts from Ælfric’s First Series of Catholic Homilies, specifically those that begin new texts. I demonstrate that such aspects of mise-en-page are transferred from manuscript to manuscript with the texts they accompany; furthermore, this transference accompanies known routes of textual dissemination.

This thesis is divided broadly into four sections. Following the first, in which I provide research contextualisation along with a discussion of relevant terminology, I next focus on groups of manuscripts identified as closely related based on their textual content. I here note several points of previously unnoticed exceptional visual similarity between these textually-linked manuscripts, most notably between several texts occurring in MS Cott Faust A. ix and MS CCCC 302.

In the third section, I focus on texts that are particularly frequently copied: Ælfric’s First Series homilies for Pentecost (ÆCHom I, 22), the Lord’s Prayer (ÆCHom I, 19), and All Saints’ Day (ÆCHom I, 36). I compile the appearance of text-beginning initials across all surviving instances of the texts; ÆCHom I, 36 especially shows evidence of letter-form transference
across multiple manuscripts, namely MS CCCC 303; MSS Bod 340/342; MS Cott Vesp D. XIV; and MSS Hatton 113 and 114 and MS Junius 121.

In the final section, I include additional case studies that argue that the above similarities are significant, and not a result of scribal standards or specific house styles. I begin with an investigation into the decoration of other vernacular manuscripts from a similar time and place of origin: CCCC 201, CCCC 322, MS Cott Tib B. I, and MS Cott Vesp D. XXI. I also include manuscripts, and one comparing two homilies in two related volumes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Lowe, Dr. Kathryn and Robertson, Professor Elizabeth
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82290
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 10:37
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 17:06
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82290
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82290

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