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Carter Revard, Richard Hazelton, James Poag
Date of Award
Restricted Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study of six of forty-five texts in the Auchinleck Manuscript (Edinburgh, Advocates' Library 19.2.1) examines certain didactic pieces and "romances," showing how they mutually reenforce and illuminate each other, and offer insights into the tastes and interests of the audience. They testify to how actively and persistently the manuscript's compilers worked to teach lessons in proper conduct, both spiritual and secular. In the Speculum Gy de Warewyke (item 10), the redactor has "dramatized" Christian doctrine by turning what was probably a bare priest's handbook into a privately readable "lessoun" shaped as an exchange of letters between two famous Englishmen: the scholar Alcuin, and the legendary Guy, earl of Warwick. The audience learns the proper hierarchy of loyalties: first, love God and then, one's fellow humans. To give emphasis to these lessons, the Anglo-Norman Gui de Warewic is split into three texts (items 22, 23 and 24, here called Guy I, Guy II and Reinbrun). The method by which "lessoun" and "romaunce" are linked and the effect this has on the romance are discussed next. The sixth text, The Short Metrical Chronicle (item 40) shows the Auchinleck compiler(s) supplementing "factual history" with romance, hagiography and editorial commentary, to fashion a handbook of conduct as well as an occasional veiled comment on recent political events which, taken with other evidence, hints at links to the Beauchamps (earls of Warwick). It serves as a handbook of conduct and, incidentally, as an informal guide to England's shrines, all in the context of stressing the importance of literacy in the English language. The evidence presented here suggests that the whole manuscript was made for a patriotic, anti-French audience who wanted lessons and models for spiritual and secular conduct and were interested in details of local history and topography, especially of London.
Burrows, Jean Harpham, "The Auchinleck Manuscript: Contexts, Texts and Audience" (1984). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 42.