What Makes Bibliography Critical? A Medievalist’s Response
Keynote Lecture by Elizaveta Strakhov
Given at the Bibliographical Society of America Annual Meeting on January 28, 2022
Abstract: What makes bibliography critical for a Western manuscripts scholar? Medievalists have, after all, enshrined bibliography to the point of developing the specialized subdisciplines of paleography and codicology. How does a Western medievalist breathe new life into bibliography, that bread-and-butter of their scholarly pursuits? This talk offers a case study of two manuscripts of bilingual Anglo-French poet Charles d’Orléans’ work: not the two collections notoriously supervised by him, but two later fifteenth-century, largely neglected manuscripts of his work, one made for European humanist circles and the other circulating with English Tudor royal audiences. These collections’ scribal layout, textual organization, and codicological arrangement can help us glean contemporary attitudes regarding authorship and authorial collaboration; the distinction between authors and translators; bilingualism and multilingualism; and the relationship between the agency of the compiler and the exigencies of material and textual form. In the process, these manuscripts further problematize our sense of the scope of early humanism and its relationship to fifteenth-century England; the reading tastes of Tudor circles; and our understanding of late medieval England’s relationship to Europe.
Elizaveta Strakhov is Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University and researches fourteenth- and fifteenth-century literary exchange between Francophone regions of medieval Europe. Click here to view her university webpage or follow Elizaveta on Twitter @lizastrakhov
Top Image: 15th century depiction of Charles d’Orléans