It is surprising, at this point in the story of the rich and strange rediscovery of a text so important to French and English literary and social history, that no collection of scholarly essays related to Mandeville's Travels yet exists in English or French. This book is a collection of essays by scholars in England and France, who produce a complex and sometimes contradictory view of Mandeville's book as an important object of early modern attention, as well as a feature of early modern literary context. The chapters range in emphasis from textual and bibliographic studies of Mandeville's late medieval and early modern Nachleben to studies of 'Mandevillian ideologies', to readings of romances and especially theatrical productions, illuminated by understandings of the new life in print of the Travels and its excerpted account of the Levant. Part I of the book makes clear that there were profound changes in motives for publication, anthologisation and readerly reception of the text(s) from the time of the incunabula, through its use by explorers Columbus, Frobisher and Ralegh, to its appearance as a children's book in the Enlightenment. These changes underscore alterations of economies and geographical experience in the mostly post-medieval 'Age of Discovery'. Part II is on Mandevillian ideologies and examines the Nachleben of the Travels through a historical discourse on the Turks and Islam in early modern England, development and geography of scripture. Part III is on Mandevillian and focuses on the drama of the newly invented medium of the commercial theatre.
The nature and experience of reading, for the common and uncommon reader across the centuries, is an enduring subject of interest for academics, journalists, fiction writers, poets, and those straddling these definitions. This book focuses on the period c. 1400-1600 and there is a lot of surviving evidence for popular reading in English during these two centuries. It examines four kinds of literature in four case studies, which represent an important constituent part of the whole body of popular texts available for study c. 1400-1600. Other studies might examine some of the many other forms of available evidence for popular reading in medieval and early modern England. There has been much excellent work on reading in recent years. The book focuses on religious texts, moral reading, practical texts, and fictional literature. The purpose of a case study is not to cover everything about a particular subject. Aside from the idea of 'covering everything' being intellectually flawed, each of the books examined here takes the investigation in a specific direction. A theme at the heart of the book is the evidence that the material item of manuscript and printed book can provide for reading practice and experience. Page layout including the interactions of different kinds or colours of script and of picture and writing are important visual aspects of the material evidence. These are often not separable from issues of literary form and voice (poetry, prose, gloss, instruction) and of language.
Such motivated and over-determined discourse in the print
Nachleben of the Travels is examined in Part II through the optics of Dimmock’s
interest in the historical discourse on the Turks and Islam in earlymodernEngland ( Chapter 5 ), 5 Cottegnies’s concern with the
development, in England, of an empirical relation to knowledge (versus
‘belief’, or our ‘Imaginary’) in Chapter
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), which contends, among other things, that the Protestant religious interludes of the 1560s and 1570s were reading texts rather than professionally performed, the critical consensus today.
Traceable to Chambers, Elizabethan Stage , it is a basic assumption in Ruth Blackburn, Biblical Drama under the Tudors (The Hague: Mouton, 1971), pp. 156–60; and Michael O’Connell, Iconoclasm and Theater in Early-Modern
Any commentary upon the
continuation of Mandevillian lore in earlymodernEngland needs to
focus on two particular features: (1) elements inherited from that
earlier medieval moment, as well as those of the moment under
consideration, that demonstrate both similarities and differences;
(2) selected recent critical scholarship about
represent an important constituent part of the whole body of popular
texts available for study c. 1400–1600.3 Other studies, which I hope may
follow, might examine some of the many other forms of available evidence
for popular reading in medieval and earlymodernEngland. There has
been much excellent work on reading in recent years. One distinctive
element of this book is that it attempts to uncover evidence for the reading
practices and experiences of real, rather than ideal, readers using evidence
that is found within the material of book and manuscript itself, or
Written Record: England 1066–1327, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992).
2 See, for example, R. Whitford, A werke for housholders (Imprynted at
London, in Southwarke by me Peter Treueris, 1531?), sig B iir–iiv – this
version is STC 25422.3 – and other examples discussed in Chapter 2.
3 Case studies are discussed in Chapter 1. The personal process of choosing
case studies is also mentioned in H. Brayman Hackel, Reading Material in
EarlyModernEngland: Print, Gender and Literacy (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2005), p 13.
4 See, for example, H
Medieval Culture (Toronto: The British Library and University of
Toronto Press, 1999); E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional
Religion in England, c. 1400–c. 1580 (New Haven, CT and London: Yale
University Press, 1992); I. Green, Print and Protestantism in EarlyModernEngland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); see also I. Green, The
Christian’s ABC: Catechism and Catechizing in England c 1530–1740
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 580; also, M.T. Clanchy, ‘The
ABC reading primer: Was it English or Latin?’, in E. Salter and H. Wicker
‘Treatment of the Mentally Ill in Medieval and EarlyModernEngland’, Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences , 14 (1978), 158–69.
36 J. Cowell, Ideot, in The Interpreter of Words and Termes (London, 1701).
37 An Exposition of Certaine Difficult and Obscure Words and Termes (London, 1615), fol. 117v.
38 Neugebauer, ‘Medieval and Early Modern Theories of Mental Illness’, 479. In a reworking of his article, Neugebauer admits that it is likely ‘that some proportion of idiots in fact
Whilst the arrival of people from the constituent parts of the British Isles was clearly a considerable feature of life across medieval and earlymodernEngland, it was only part of the wider process of migration into England across this period. Of the 5,106 aliens taxed in 1440 whose nationalities can be readily identified, some 38 per cent (1,936) came from elsewhere within the British Isles and the Channel Islands. However, this leaves almost two thirds of immigrants taxed in 1440 originating from further afield – and some considerably further. The