From Memory to Written Record - England 1066-1307 3e


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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

About the Author

Michael Clanchy is Professor Emeritus of Medieval Historyat the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, anda Fellow of the British Academy. In the 1990s he heldinterdisciplinary seminars on the significance of literacy atUniversity College London, the Warburg Institute, and the Instituteof Historical Research. Before moving to London in 1985, he taughtat the University of Glasgow. He is the author of the populartextbook England and its Rulers1066 1307 (third edition, 2006), andAbelard: A Medieval Life (1997).


Reviews of the first edition: "A tour-de-force, a scholarly work which is genuinely hard to putdown, and which breaks new ground in its approach." Journal ofLegal History "Thought-provoking and wide-ranging ... one can assertconfidently that it is one of the most exciting books on medievalEnglish history to appear in recent years." History "Many familiar assumptions about the medieval world will have tobe reconsidered in the light of this book. It is impossible toconvey its range or the variety of its implications, but it ispossible to insist on its importance." HistoryToday "Clanchy's work will stand as a remarkable piece of scholarshipand as a massive contribution to our understanding of the medievalworld." Journal of Library History Reviews of the second edition: "Just as 'From Memory to Written Record' was the touchstone forthe revolution in the study of medieval literacy and power in the1980s, the second edition will be a sustaining forece in thecontinuing revolution of the 1990s'. " Patrick J Geary, Universityof Notre Dame "'From Memory to Written Record' is one of the those seminalworks that shape the direction of the next generation of historicaland social thought. This second edition will remain one of themajor works on the medieval world for many decades to come." NormanF Cantor, Late of New York University Michael Clanchy's widely-acclaimed study of the history of thewritten word in the Middle Ages remains a classic work in medievalstudies. In this third edition Professor Clanchy presents hislatest thinking on the subject in a new introduction coveringrecent work on literacy studies. He has also updated the furtherreading section and revised the references to take account ofrecent publications. These changes preserve the coherence of theoriginal argument whilst also ensuring the book remains current fora new generation of scholars and students.

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