From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307 [NOOK Book]


Michael Clanchy?s widely acclaimed history of the written word in the Middle Ages remains a seminal work in the field. Now available in its third edition, it has been updated to include the latest research and to reflect on the development of medieval literacy studies in recent decades.

The book retains its focus on the period from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the end of Edward I?s reign in 1307. During this time, English culture was transformed from an oral to a literate one,...

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From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307

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Michael Clanchy’s widely acclaimed history of the written word in the Middle Ages remains a seminal work in the field. Now available in its third edition, it has been updated to include the latest research and to reflect on the development of medieval literacy studies in recent decades.

The book retains its focus on the period from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the end of Edward I’s reign in 1307. During this time, English culture was transformed from an oral to a literate one, in a process that was as important as the later invention of printing. The production and retention of a variety of written records was extended from royal and monastic agencies to much wider forms of everyday business. As charters, writs, and other documents became commonplace, so developed England’s literate mentality.

For this third edition the author has revised and expanded the discussion of the culture of literacy that developed in Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman invasion.This book explores medieval literacy in its various forms, including reading strategies, memory, writing materials, and the relationship between script and image. Tracing the rising importance and advancement of writing in medieval life, Clanchy’s landmark text continues to be a classic in the field of medieval studies as a whole. 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
When Michael Clanchy’s book From Memory to Written Record was first published in 1979, it was the most important book on English Royal administration in the middle ages that had appeared in a general…. The second edition takes full cognizance of the extensive literature on the subject of morality and literacy, which has been one of the half dozen most discussed aspects of the medieval European world during the past two decades. Clanchy has significantly deepened and enriched his classic study. It is indispensable for not only political, legal and socialhistorians, but also for students of medieval literature and religion. From Memory to Written Record is one of those seminal works that shape the direction of the next generation of historical and social thought. This second edition will remain of the major works on the medieval world for many decades to come. Norman F. Cantor, New York University

Reviews of the first edition:
"A tour-de-force, a scholarly work which is genuinely hard to put down, and which breaks new ground in its approach." Journal of Legal History

"Thought-provoking and wide-ranging . . . one can assert confidently that it is one of the most exciting books on medieval English history to appear in recent years." History

"Many familiar assumptions about the medieval world will have to be reconsidered in the light of this book. It is impossible to convey its range or the variety of its implications, but it is possible to insist on its importance." History Today

"Clanchy's work will stand as a remarkable piece of scholarship and as a massive contribution to our understanding of the medieval world." Journal of Library History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118295984
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/5/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Clanchy is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. In the 1990s he held interdisciplinary seminars on the significance of literacy at University College London, the Warburg Institute, and the Institute of Historical Research. Before moving to London in 1985, he taught at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of the popular textbook England and its Rulers 10661307 (third edition, 2006), and Abelard: A Medieval Life (1997).

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Table of Contents

List of Plates viii

Preface to the First Edition ix

Preface to the Second Edition xi

Preface to the Third Edition xii

Introduction 1
Being Prejudiced in Favour of Literacy 7
Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Literacy 11
England's Place in Medieval Literacy 16

Part I TheMaking of Records 21

1 Memories and Myths of the Norman Conquest 23
The Formation of a Norman Official Memory 26
The Anglo-Saxon Heritage of Literacy 30
Latin and the Language of Domesday Book 35
William the Conqueror’s Symbolic Knife 38
The EarlWarenne’s Rusty Sword 41

2 The Proliferation of Documents 46
Documents at Village Level 48
The Chronology of Charter Making 54
The Output of Royal Documents 58
Documents and Bureaucracy 64
TheWork of HubertWalter 70
Royal Influence on Other Records 75
Appendix 80

3 Types of Record 83
The Variety ofWritings 83
Statements Issued by Individuals 87
Memoranda Kept by Institutions 94
Learned and LiteraryWorks 106
Liturgical Books 111

4 The Technology ofWriting 116
The Scribe and His Materials 117
Wax, Parchment, andWood 120
CommittingWords toWriting 127
Layout and Format 134
Rolls or Books? 137

5 The Preservation and Use of Documents 147
Monastic Documents for Posterity 148
Secular Documents for Daily Use 151
Archives and Libraries 156
The Royal Archives 164
Ways of Remembering 174
Ways of Indexing 179

Part II The LiterateMentality 187
What Reading Meant 192

6 Languages of Record 199
Walter of Bibbesworth’s Treatise 199
The Variety of Languages 202
Spoken andWritten Language 208
Chronological Development 213
TheWriting Down of French 217
Royal Documents in Latin, French, and English 222

7 Literate and Illiterate 226
Meanings of 'Clericus' and 'Litteratus' 228
The Question of the Literacy of the Laity 233
Knowledge of Latin Among Non-Churchmen 236
The Acquisition of Clerical Education 242
Educated Knights 248

8 Hearing and Seeing 255
Symbolic Objects and Documents 256
The Spoken Versus theWrittenWord 262
Listening to theWord 268
The SpokenWord in Legal Procedure 274
Writings asWorks of Art 280
Word and Image 285

9 TrustingWriting 295
Memory andWriting 296
Dating Documents 300
Signing Documents 305
The Symbolism of Seals and Crosses 309
Forging Documents 318

10 Pragmatic Literacy 329

Postscript by the Author 336

List of Abbreviations 344

Select Further Reading 352

Plates 356

Index 396

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