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Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture

John Trevisa's Information Age

Knowledge and the Pursuit of Literature, c. 1400

Emily Steiner

John Trevisa's Information Age

Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture

John Trevisa's Information Age

Knowledge and the Pursuit of Literature, c. 1400

Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture: John Trevisa's Information Age

 

Explores reference books in the medieval period including informational texts, encyclopedias, histories, and manuals, with particular attention to John Trevisa's translations and how these influenced the form and development of vernacular English literature.


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Beschrijving Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture: John Trevisa's Information Age

What would medieval English literature look like if we viewed it through the lens of the compendium? In that case, John Trevisa might come into focus as the major author of the fourteenth century. Trevisa (d. 1402) made a career of translating big informational texts from Latin into English prose. These included Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, an enormous universal history, Bartholomaeus Anglicus's well-known natural encyclopedia De proprietatibus
rerum, and Giles of Rome's advice-for-princes manual, De regimine principum. These were shrewd choices, accessible and on trend: De proprietatibus rerum and De regimine principum had already been translated into French and copied in deluxe manuscripts for the French and English nobility, and the Polychronicon had been
circulating England for several decades.

This book argues that John Trevisa's translations of compendious informational texts disclose an alternative literary history by way of information culture. Bold and lively experiments, these translations were a gamble that the future of literature in England was informational prose. This book argues that Trevisa's oeuvre reveals an alternative literary history more culturally expansive and more generically diverse than that which we typically construct for his contemporaries, Geoffrey Chaucer
and William Langland. Thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century European writers compiled massive reference books which would shape knowledge well into the Renaissance. This study maintains that they had a major impact on English poetry and prose. In fact, what we now recognize to be literary
properties emerged in part from translations of medieval compendia with their inventive ways of handling vast quantities of information.


ISBN
9780192896902
Pagina's
304
Verschenen
Serie
Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture
NUR
320
Druk
1
Uitvoering
Hardback
Taal
Engels
Uitgever
OUP Oxford

Literaire non-fictie