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The written word: literacy across languages

Gilbert, JL; Harris, S; (2020) The written word: literacy across languages. In: Da Rold, O and Treharne, E, (eds.) Cambridge Companion to Medieval British Manuscripts. (pp. 149-178). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Discusses the various ways in which different languages are used in British (mainly English) manuscripts, 10th to 15th centuries, emphasizing fluidity across modern linguistic boundaries and the essentially comparative nature of literacy in a context where there were no literate monoglots. One section builds on theories of diglossia to address how a language might at times be presented as a prestigious 'book language' and at others as a 'non-book language' accessing different kinds of affectivity and experience. Another discusses how medieval knowledge was 'found in translation', such that transmission between languages was foundational to knowledge discourses. According to the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs, the Middle Ages was a Golden Age when translators could ‘omit passages and insert commentaries to an extent never again equalled in the history of translation in the West’.

Type: Book chapter
Title: The written word: literacy across languages
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/9781316182659.008
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316182659
Language: English
Keywords: Medieval culture, Medieval Britain, Manuscript culture, Medieval literacy, Chaucer, Eadwine Psalter, Byrthferth, Orrm, Bodley 264, Hebrew manuscripts, John of Cornwall, Rustichello da Pisa, Multilingualism, Medieval Cornish, Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman, Old English, Middle English, Medieval Dutch, Hebban olla vogala, Diglossia, Translation, Book History
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045852
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