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Texts and contexts: a study of aristocratic influence on Latin and vernacular historical narratives in twelfth century England

Taylor, Louisa (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis investigates the claims of some historians that we cannot consider histories composed in Latin and the vernacular Anglo-Norman as part of one corpus of historical narratives, due to their linguistic differences. Historians often perceive Latin histories to be scholarly and religious, seeing vernacular histories as more influenced by lay aristocratic culture. This study investigates if this separation is justified. To do this, it compares three vernacular histories and three Latin histories composed in twelfth century England. It focuses specifically on the patronage of these histories and the literary trend for ‘courtly’ writing which some scholars have seen as reflecting lay aristocratic culture. This comparison demonstrates that these histories were influenced by networks of both lay and religious aristocrats. It discusses how so called ‘courtly elements’ in vernacular histories, which are seen as the result of lay aristocratic influence, were also present in Latin histories. Vernacular histories could also include classical references, pious asides, and an extensive use of Latin source material. They are thus the product of many influences, including the historian’s education, their piety and the way in which they intend to use the past. They cannot be defined by the language they are composed in.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Yarrow, Simon
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of History and Cultures, Department of Medieval History
Subjects:PA Classical philology
D111 Medieval History
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1605
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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